Free To Shine
In 2010 Nicky visited Cambodia to work with survivors of sex trafficking. Soon after, with guidance from survivors and international research, Nicky founded Free To Shine to prevent the trafficking of girls in Cambodia.
“I asked survivors who had been rescued [from sex trafficking] how I could help, and I was hardly prepared for their answer. I thought they’d want something straight-forward and easy to provide, like university tuition fees, but they didn’t want anything for themselves. Instead they wanted for no other girl to go through the horrors they’d been through. They asked me to go out into the rural villages, find the girls who weren’t in school, and protect them. They told me that if these young girls were in school they would not be trafficked.” –Nicky Mih, Founder & Managing Director, Free To Shine.
Free To Shine is an independently-funded, non-profit organisation founded in Australia, working to prevent sex trafficking in South East Asia. Our work is child protection-focused, human rights-based, and designed to strengthen families & keep children in education.
The Khmer team works with local authorities and communities to reach the most at-risk rural girls, reducing their vulnerability to trafficking by improving their access to education & providing them with social work support.
We prevent the trafficking and exploitation of girls by strengthening family and community systems to prioritize the safety and education of their children.
Educated girls, free from sex trafficking, leading and shaping their communities and country.
Safety, Education, Community, Equity and Strength
To learn how Free To Shine incorporates these into their work, you can read their impact and annual reports here.
We don’t build new private schools;
We make it possible for children to access their local, public school.
We don’t rescue or save children from sex trafficking;
We work to prevent them from being trafficked in the first place.
The International Labour Organisation states that “getting girls into schools and keeping them there is vital to reducing their vulnerability to trafficking.” UNESCO reports that there are 34,780 female children and 64,431 adolescent girls in Cambodia who should be in school but are not. Following this model, Free To Shine advocates for all girls to be in school or some form of education in order to prevent them from being trafficked or exploited.
Free To Shine has partnered with many local and international organisations such as ChildSafe Alliance, ReThink Orphanage Network, Social Workers Network, Education Support Network and many more to be leaders in the child protection sector and advocate for children's safety within Cambodia and around the world.