Hagar International is a non-profit which runs social service programs in Cambodia, and Vietnam, with the mission to protect the most vulnerable human trafficking victims while aiding in their recovery.
Elliot Costello went to Cambodia with the organization, knowing he would end up meeting firsthand, the exploited and abused women and children that are in that area. What he didn’t realize was that a meeting with a little girl named Thea would end up forever changing his life.
She was 10-years-old when Costello met her at the Hagar shelter, but for the past 2 years the little girl was exploited physically, sexually, and emotionally by Westerners. Nevertheless she still was a loving little girl and she took Costello’s hand, and proceeded to start to paint his nails.
This small act impacted Costello big time. Thus it spawned his movement “to paint one nail to represent the one in five children that suffer physical and sexual violence at the hands of men.”
He began The Polished Man campaign. This is meant to draw the much needed attention to children all around the world who are victims of sexual abuse. One finger nail is painted and left that way for a week. This is meant to spread the word and start creating conversations about violence against children around the world. More donations to support programs that provide resources and help child victims can come about with this simple awareness technique.
It’s only a couple of years old now, but The Polished Man campaign has attracted thousands of people to it’s cause and even celebrities such as Mario Batali and Hugh Jackman have been supporting it. Check out this video of Costello’s story and how you can start participating in this campaign.
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