Our Story

Our Story

On a stage, lit by spotlights, were boys in a line, kids probably twelve to sixteen years old. They were practically naked, wearing nothing but skimpy white thongs, a number pinned to each … A boy was ordered like a customer would order a drink, brought to the table by the manager to be checked out.

At the age of 16, after reading these words about the sexual exploitation of children in Thailand, while researching for a high school project; Cheryl Perera grew furious. “How can children my age and younger be exploited in this way? I’m just a teenager, but how can I stop this?”

At 17, she journeyed alone to Sri Lanka on a 3.5 month investigation of the sexual exploitation of children in Sri Lanka, and partnered with the National Child Protection Authority, playing the main role of the decoy –a 15 year-old prostituted– child in an undercover operation, which led to the apprehension of a 40+ year-old child sex perpetrator. She met with an advisor to the President of Sri Lanka, to share her concerns and plead for action to be taken.  In turn, she was  asked to serve at the Presidential Secretariat as the President’s Nominee on Child Protection.

When she returned to Canada, she spoke to anyone who was willing to listen.  Cheryl gathered a group of friends, some as young as 13, created a petition, and together they convinced Air Canada to screen youth-produced videos on the sexual exploitation of children in travel and tourism on domestic and international flights, sensitizing over 22 million. But things didn’t stop there. The seed had been planted for something more powerful and innovative. An organization that would put young people—for the first time in history— at the frontlines of the struggle to end the sexual exploitation of children and child sex trafficking. And the time had come. Taking the cue, Cheryl and her nine friends founded OneChild.

On a stage, lit by spotlights, were boys in a line, kids probably twelve to sixteen years old. They were practically naked, wearing nothing but skimpy white thongs, a number pinned to each … A boy was ordered like a customer would order a drink, brought to the table by the manager to be checked out.”

At the age of 16, after reading these words about the sexual exploitation of children in Thailand, while researching for a high school project; Cheryl Perera grew furious. “How can children my age and younger be exploited in this way? I’m just a teenager, but how can I stop this?”

At 17, she journeyed alone to Sri Lanka on a 3.5 month investigation of the sexual exploitation of children in Sri Lanka, and partnered with the National Child Protection Authority, playing the main role of the decoy –a 15 year-old prostituted child– in an undercover operation, which led to the apprehension of a 40+ year-old child sex perpetrator. She met with an advisor to the President of Sri Lanka, to share her concerns and plead for action to be taken.  In turn, she was  asked to serve at the Presidential Secretariat as the President’s Nominee on Child Protection.

When she returned to Canada, she spoke to anyone who was willing to listen.  Cheryl gathered a group of friends, some as young as 13, created a petition, and together they convinced Air Canada to screen youth-produced videos on the sexual exploitation of children in travel and tourism on domestic and international flights, sensitizing over 22 million. But things didn’t stop there. The seed had been planted for something more powerful and innovative. An organization that would put young people—for the first time in history— at the frontlines of the struggle to end the sexual exploitation of children and child sex trafficking. And the time had come. Taking the cue, Cheryl and her nine friends founded  OneChild.

2001

Cheryl reads about the sexual exploitation of children and child sex trafficking while researching for a high school project

2002

Outraged by this atrocity, Cheryl plays the main role of the decoy-a 15 year-old prostituted child in an undercover STING operation in Sri Lanka

2005

Cheryl and friends establish OneChild

2005

OneChild pioneers the first-ever successful advocacy campaign to engage the Canadian airline industry to raise awareness of Canada’s extraterritorial legislation against the sexual exploitation of children in travel and tourism, impacting over 22 million

2006

OneChild wins the prestigious World of Children Founder’s Award

2010

OneChild co-launches the first nation-wide campaign against the sexual exploitation of children in travel and tourism targeting airports, travel agencies, tour operators, and consulates

2011

OneChild undertakes international programming with the PREDA Foundation in the Philippines and funds the construction of the Victoria Home for Girls, a rehabilitation centre for rescued girls.

2012

OneChild launches the first North America-wide ‘Break the Chains’ Speaking Tour

2014

OneChild partners with Action Pour Les Enfants and funds the first multiple training session on prevention education and training for law enforcement in Cambodia.

2017

The Victoria Home for Girls opens in the Philippines

2019

OneChild launches an Ontario-wide prevention education speaking tour in elementary and high schools

2001

Cheryl reads about the sexual exploitation of children and child sex trafficking while researching for a high school project

2002

Outraged by this atrocity, Cheryl plays the main role of the decoy-a 15 year-old prostituted child in an undercover STING operation in Sri Lanka

2005

Cheryl and friends establish OneChild

2005

OneChild pioneers the first-ever successful advocacy campaign to engage the Canadian airline industry to raise awareness of Canada’s extraterritorial legislation against the sexual exploitation of children in travel and tourism, impacting over 22 million

2006

OneChild wins the prestigious World of Children Founder’s Award

2010

OneChild co-launches the first nation-wide campaign against the sexual exploitation of children in travel and tourism targeting airports, travel agencies, tour operators, and consulates

2011

OneChild undertakes international programming with the PREDA Foundation in the Philippines and funds the construction of the Victoria Home for Girls, a rehabilitation centre for rescued girls.

2012

OneChild launches the first North America-wide ‘Break the Chains’ Speaking Tour

2014

OneChild partners with Action Pour Les Enfants and funds the first multiple training session on prevention education and training for law enforcement in Cambodia.

2017

The Victoria Home for Girls opens in the Philippines

Contact Us

8865 Woodbine Avenue
Unit D3, Suite 124,
Markham, ON
L3R 5G1
Canada

General Inquiries: info@onechild.ca
Youth Inquiries: youth@onechild.ca

1.905.886.2222

General Inquiries: info@onechild.ca
Youth Inquiries: youth@onechild.ca

1.905.886.2222