Little Red Shoes: Tony Kirwan’s Most Memorable Rescue
Filed Under: Blog, Girls, Rescue, Stories, Video
This is a true story told by Founder and CEO of Destiny Rescue International, Tony Kirwan. Read his words below or watch the video here.
I remember one night I got a phone call from one of the boys, he was at a brothel and he was really desperate. He had a 13-year-old girl and there were heaps of guys who were trying to take the kid off him and he was scared it was going to get violent.
So one of the [rescue agents] and I jumped on our bikes and headed straight over there. It was a small, grubby little bar, about four or five tables, all of them full of guys drinking beer and basically staring at the young girls handing out the drinks. I went over and sat down at the table with the boys and as I did I noticed in the back corner there looked like a stairwell going down underneath the floor, so I snuck over and went down those stairs to see what was done there.
As I got down I saw [the owners] had dug out underneath the brothel and built roughly seven small rooms, and there was a thick smell of stale sweat in the air, it was really quite disgusting, and I walked around the corner and as soon as I got around there I could see a small pair of red shoes that some kid had kicked off as she was taken into a room. And as I stood there feeling really helpless I could hear what was going on in that room, and I remember standing there realising what that 13-year-old kid we had upstairs at the table, what she would have to do every single night, and I knew that if we didn’t do something tonight she would end up down here at some point, doing what [the girl with red shoes] was doing right then.
So I went back upstairs and sat next to the kid and the agent leant over and said, “This girl has been here about a week and every night, usually about four or five times, she gets taken downstairs and she is forced to have sex with customers and is basically raped by these violent men.” I looked over at his kid and she was looking at me and in her eyes she was petrified and it was like she was begging me to do something to get her out of that place. So I called the mamasan over and I said I wanted to take this kid back to my hotel room. We ended up negotiating a price to do that, because in the brothel owner’s mind I was taking the girl away to have sex, but what was really happening was were taking her away to her freedom.
And we just stood up and this kid took my hand and we walked out of the brothel and she jumped on my bike and we took off to one of our rescue homes, and as we arrived I looked back and I saw this gorgeous smile on this kid’s face as she realised what we were saying was true. She went to bed and she slept for 1-2 days I think, which is quite normal. Something these kids often say is that’s the first time they can remember in a long time that they can go to bed and just sleep.
My dream is that all children will be able to go to bed and sleep, and not work. I have a photo on my mobile phone of those little red shoes as a constant reminder that there’s still one more out there, one more kid worth rescuing; it reminds me never to stop; every child is worth the risk, worth the love, worth the cost.
By Tony Kirwan
Destiny Rescue Founder and International CEO