#ItsAPenalty begins successfully once more

Last week, supporters of the Happy Child International charity campaign #ItsAPenalty gathered at the Brazilian Embassy in London for its second run ahead of the Rio 2016 Olympics. The event included attendees such as Denise Lewis, UK gold medal winning Olympian; Sarah de Carvalho, founder of Happy Child International; and Sysdoc global CEO, Katherine Corich.

The charity helps deprived young children in Belo Horizonte and Recife, especially young girls who have been sexually exploited and many of whom are child mothers. They operate 13 children’s homes in Brazil, where they follow their principle of rescue, rehabilitation and re-integration of their children.

In the lead up to the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, Happy Child International launched their #ItsAPenalty campaign, which aimed to highlight the sexual exploitation of children in Brazil. The major sporting event was seen as a crucial time to drive the message across that this exploitation was in no way acceptable, a despicable crime in a country which had seen some girls as young as 12 sold for sex for as little as 80 pence.

The 2014 campaign was a resounding success, with backers including international footballers Frank Lampard and David Luiz, and British Prime Minister David Cameron. It sparked a major social media campaign, using the #ItsAPenalty hashtag, and videos were shown on British Airways flights to Rio de Janeiro over the World Cup period.

With the 2016 Rio Olympics little more than a year away, Happy Child International has launched the campaign again. The results so far have been outstanding, with 64 guests attending the Brazilian Embassy event, and a potential starting donation of £33,000 from a wide and varied list of contributors. They have united for the aim of eliminating child sex exploitation in Brazil, together with lobbying on an international level where stronger legislation would provide greater protection for the children, and punishment for those committing these diabolical crimes.

If you would like to help the #ItsAPenalty campaign as it approaches the next summer Olympics, you can visit http://www.happychild.org/ you can also watch a short video on the work of the charity here: https://vimeo.com/125746497.

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