A hard-hitting campaign to stop the exploitation of girls in Asia has raised close to $200,000 - twice the goal amount.

In a partnership between the New Zealand Herald and World Vision the campaign Not For Sale addressed some of the biggest issues facing girls in Asia - child marriage, trafficking and child labour.

The Not for Sale campaign slowly wraps up but the fundraising will continue with all proceeds going to those affected by child exploitation.

As part of the confronting campaign popular Newstalk ZB broadcaster Kerre McIvor travelled to India and Myanmar with Herald videographer Mike Scott.

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The pair saw first hand the devastating impact exploitation has on the lives of young women.

McIvor was deeply affected by the campaign and said she wanted to give money to the families she spoke to "on the spot".

 Kerre McIvor speak with Devi Singh 38, and Jitendar Singh, 35, of a mens group in Agra fighting against traditions that discriminate against girls and women. Photo / Mike Scott
Kerre McIvor speak with Devi Singh 38, and Jitendar Singh, 35, of a mens group in Agra fighting against traditions that discriminate against girls and women. Photo / Mike Scott

From a 14-year-old daughter of a prostitute, to a young girl making bracelets for tourists for 16 hours a day, McIvor said she wanted to save them all.

"Walking away from them was the hardest things I have done," McIvor said.

"I wanted to go to an ATM immediately and give them the money that would change their lives but that is against World Vision protocol because of corruption."

Instead McIvor told the stories of the girls she met to raise awareness.

McIvor said she hoped the campaign had raised not only much needed money but also kicked off ongoing work to help spark change.

She said it was heartbreaking to meet girls who were married off before they were ready and without consent.

She met girls who worked as child labourers and others that were forced into the sex industry.

At an early age, Minu, 17, was set to become a child bride until a friend and a community ward member came to the rescue and stopped the illegal ceremony. Photo / Mike Scott
At an early age, Minu, 17, was set to become a child bride until a friend and a community ward member came to the rescue and stopped the illegal ceremony. Photo / Mike Scott

One girl she bonded with was a 14-year-old referred to as Sapna who worked for up to 16 hours a day making bracelets for tourists.

As the eldest the young girl had the burden of providing for her family when her father became too sick to work.

Sapna spends all day and into the night soldering clasps onto thousands of anklets.

McIvor was told there was some hope that one day the young girl who dreams of being a teacher, might return to school - but only with help.

It meant applying for an economic development fund so Sapna's mother could set up a small grocery store.

McIvor said there was a faint hope the family could live off the proceeds of the stall and Sapna would be able to go back to school.

However slim the chances are of success, it's a chance worth taking, McIvor said.

"Whatever happens I plan to go back there and check on the ones I met and make sure their lives have changed," she said.

A mock-wedding in Auckland highlighted the issue of under-age marriages. Photo / Jo Currie
A mock-wedding in Auckland highlighted the issue of under-age marriages. Photo / Jo Currie

As part of the campaign in New Zealand, the serious issue of child marriage saw young actress Kylie Thompson, 18, pretend to marry a much older Alan Fish, 55 at Auckland's St Paul's Church.

Thompson, who looked miserable during the mock ceremony, was surprised no one approached them to question the unusual situation.

When members of the public were approached by the Herald and asked how they felt about the young age of the bride many said they were shocked but had not wanted to interfere.

Underage and arranged marriages were commonplace in Asia.

According to statistics from World Vision one in nine girls will marry before they turn 15.

Every year millions of children are being trafficked into sex exploitation and forced to work.

Gareth Owen, World Vision's head of marketing and engagement, said the money from the Not For Sale campaign would be spent on education about children's rights and protection, rehabilitating those who've had their lives turned around and trying to change the laws.

"Rehabilitation is tough but this is a reality that those who, unfortunately, have their lives have turned out this way.

"The girls and their families would also be given financial assistance, he said.

He said the fact humans were driven to put their children into such situations was "sad but unfortunately humans are greedy".

The Stats

1 billion children aged 2-17 experience some form of violence each year.
152 million children are in child labour around the world.
1.2 million children trafficked each year globally.
28% of all detected trafficking victims are children.
25% of women in the world aged 20-24 were married by 18 years old.

To donate to the Not for Sale campaign go to World Vision