The moment a 15 year old girl is rescued from a Thai brothel

She was known simply as number 167.

Teenagers here don't have names, they have numbers and prices.

But 15-year-old 'Nung' has been given a chance at a new life after a carefully planned extraction and police raid ended her young career as a prostitute.

As part of an investigation into the $6 billion Thai sex industry, Sunday Night followed the team of Australians who have spent 15 years saving 1300 girls from the same fate.

They are known as Destiny Rescue and their founder, former Cairns electrician Tony Kirwin, says it should be a 'national outcry' that Australian men buy children for sex.

Tony Kirwan planning the extraction with his team
Tony Kirwan planning the extraction with his team

"There’s a lot of westerners coming here, specifically to have sex with the nationals and the people that have the authority to do something aren’t doing enough."

The girls are sent from surrounding countries including Burma and Laos, often by their parents to earn money.

Their services are traded by the 'Mama san', brothel managers, who negotiate their price with Western tourists — the younger they are, the more money they are worth.

Kirwin and his team search bars and clubs five nights a week for girls who are underage and use two methods of extraction.

The 'soft rescue' involves buying time with the girls, taking them out for dinner, gaining their trust and then arranging to meet outside the brothel for a visit to the safe houses provided by Destiny Rescue.

They can then choose to stay or return to their employer.

Inside a Destiny Rescue safe house
Inside a Destiny Rescue safe house

But Nung, number 167, was the focus of a full-scale raid — a highly complicated operation coordinated with police to shut down an entire brothel.

Justin, an undercover agent from New Zealand, was planted as regular customer in the selected venue to make a plan for the raid and identify the underage girl.

"You see her getting taken multiple times every single night by guys taking her to the room, abusing and waiting in the back again for the next guy," Justin said prior to the raid.

On the night of the raid, in order for police to make their arrests, Justin had to identified her and clearly state on camera to the Mama san he wished to buy the 15-year-old Nung for sex.

He said he was nervous, he was risking her life and her freedom.

'Justin' was crucial to the operation, having to buy Nung without arousing suspicion
'Justin' was crucial to the operation, having to buy Nung without arousing suspicion

But the deal was struck and the Mama san sold her for the equivalent of AU$120.

Using marked money they established proof of the financial transaction and Justin took the girl to a hotel room.

There, police were in place to check her ID before moving in on the brothel with more than 20 undercover officers.

The moment Nung sees Justin in the brothel
The moment Nung sees Justin in the brothel

As the raid unfolded they blocked the exits, making sure staff didn't run and located the marked money.

As a result of this raid the Mama san and owner are now facing human trafficking charges and serious jail time.

There were 10 other underage girls working in the bar.

In the hotel, the shower is the cue for police to enter and check Nung's ID
In the hotel, the shower is the cue for police to enter and check Nung's ID

"It's a new life for a girl," Tony said.

"Hopefully [it] will be the switching point for her to go from a life of slavery and abuse and horrible things happening to her, to you know, freedom and pursuing some real dreams that she's had her whole life

"I love people going to jail for doing the wrong thing. This is a great night…. One brothel at a time, one kid at a time, one arrest at a time"

There are tens of thousands who need rescuing.

Police arrested the Mama san after finding the marked money
Police arrested the Mama san after finding the marked money

In the safe houses, for the first time, they are allowed to be normal teenagers as well as receive medical care, education and rehabilitation.

Tony said a "despicable" amount of Australians go to Thailand for sex, and many are blind to the fact that the girls are bought and sold like cattle, often by their parents, to feed the $6 billion industry.

"It should be a national outcry, I mean we should be ashamed."

"It's definitely changed my perception of Aussie men and I want it changed back. I want us to be the good guys I want us to be the guys that said … we're going to fix the problem we're not going to come over and feed the problem."

He started the organization in 2001 after a 1996 trip with his wife and three daughters made him aware of the problem.

"To think that people were selling children and selling them for sex just rocked my world, I just knew I had to do something about it."

"Our vision is to see it end in our lifetime so we have to attack it at every possible angle, and that has to include police, it has to include people going to jail for what they are doing."

Destiny Rescue now operates in eight countries and runs small businesses to train and employ the girls, including hairdressing salons and cafes.

They are taught their lives are valuable.

"I believe every child, every person does have a destiny, we have a reason why we are here we want to rescue those children so they can live out their destiny."

You can help Destiny Rescue by donating money, sponsoring a child or funding a specific project, to find out how, visit:
www.destinyrescue.org