In 2002, Rob Morris and the other founders of the organization Love146 went undercover in Southeast Asia to determine how they could serve in the fight against child trafficking. Posing as customers, they went into a brothel where they witnessed children being sold for sex.
The girls were around 11 to 13 years old, and all wore a red dress with a number pinned to their chest. They were trapped behind a glass wall, across from which was a television playing cartoons. All were watching the screen, except one.
“One girl wouldn’t watch the cartoons. Her number was 146. She was looking beyond the glass. She was staring out at us with a piercing gaze. There was still life left in this girl,” says Rob Morris, the President and co-founder of Love146. “We have taken her number [into our name] so that we remember why this all started.”
The number 146 was pinned to that one girl, but now it represents the millions of enslaved youth caught in child trafficking. Love146 serves children in Asia, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
The organization began in 2002 to build and expand safe homes in Asia. In 2008, it opened “Round Homes” for girls in the Philippines, the U.S., and the U.K. Round Homes are uniquely built facilities where children who have been affected by child trafficking can have their health and happiness slowly restored. Therapy sessions are held in tree houses, there are volleyball courts, and punching bags have also been installed to let out aggression. The entire facility is designed to allow for the playfulness and outlet of energy that children need.
In 2015, Love146 started the “Not A #Number” campaign, which is an interactive, five-lesson prevention curriculum designed to teach young people how to protect themselves from human trafficking and exploitation. The modules teach children information and critical thinking skills on how to recognize and react when they may be in potential danger.
Through the Not A #Number campaign, children also learn how to access resources and support systems in their communities. Love146 wants the youth affected by human trafficking to feel comfortable seeking help.
One child who participated in the program and later escaped a dangerous situation said, “I managed to get away. I made an excuse and got out of there as fast as I could… Because of what we’ve talked about at Not a #Number, I paid closer attention and knew to trust my gut.”
Survivor care and the prevention of child trafficking is the mission of Love146, and the organization believes that education is key to the fight. Through these programs, over 3,000 professionals have been trained and given tools to identify and prevent the trafficking of children.
Many people are unaware of what to look for when trying to spot potential child trafficking. Also, when approaching a victim of trafficking, it is important to know the right questions to ask and how to respond to them. You can learn more about trafficking identification, prevention, and rescue through the information provided on the Love146 website. You can also join the fight by donating, volunteering, or even learning how to report suspected child trafficking to Love146.
Through preventative education, anyone can learn how to save the life of a child being trafficked. If you suspect someone of child trafficking, report it at the National Trafficking Hotline (1-888-373-7888).
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