Students run against trafficking

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 27 November, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 27 November, 2011, 12:00am


You're never too young to fight for human rights.

Some 360 secondary school students from 15 local and international schools congregated on Lugard Road near The Peak yesterday morning and set off on a 24-hour run called Running to Stop the Traffik.

The money they raise will help abducted children in Nepal and India.

Five co-organisers, all in secondary school, said their goal was to raise HK$500,000. Various corporate sponsors have already provided HK$200,000.

Harry Salnikow, a student at Chinese International School and a co-organiser, said proceeds would go to the Esther Benjamins Trust, a Nepal-based charity fighting to end child trafficking.

Philip Holmes, who founded the charity in 2002 to honour his wife's memory after she committed suicide, said that proceeds from the first race last year had a significant impact on the charity's work in Kathmandu and southern Nepal.

Since 2004, the charity has focused on Nepali children smuggled to India to work in circuses under dire conditions. The charity has carried out several rescue operations with local authorities and successfully brought several child traffickers from India and Nepal to justice.

'When we started working on this issue, people said we were crazy and that circuses were acceptable places for children to work,' Holmes said. However, as the charity started exposing how children were mistreated, public opinion started to change. 'I think our work had a huge impact.'

In September last year, the trust rescued a 23-year-old Nepali woman who had been forced to work in an Indian circus since she was eight.

Last year, 170 participants ran a total of 3,192 kilometres in 24 hours, raising HK$280,000. The goal this year is to top the winning school, Li Po Chun United World College.


The number of Nepali girls rescued by the Esther Benjamins Trust in September, which has been vindicated by the Child Welfare Council