Love146 - Rob Morris
It is estimated that every 26 seconds a child is sold somewhere in the world. In other words, every single year, a number equivalent to New York State’s under-age 5 population is trafficked for the purposes of prostitution, marriage, cheap labor, armed combat or sport. When facing such an insurmountable worldwide issue, it’s hard to even know where to begin.
In steps father of six, Rob Morris. In 2002 Rob traveled with a group of individuals to Southeast Asia. They took part in an undercover investigation of a brothel that sold under-age girls. Customers would stand shoulder-to-shoulder looking at young girls through a glass window. The girls all wore red dresses and lifelessly stared at crackling television sets showing cartoons, all the while they were being bought and sold. These young, blank faces no longer had names, just identifying numbers.
Rob recounts that all the girls had completely lifeless dead-eyes, except for one: number 146.
Number 146 was likely new to the brothel and still had fight left in her. In that moment, Rob’s organization Love146 was born. Rob and the individuals with him knew that they needed to bring love, caring, compassion and commitment to number 146 and other children like her.
As we all know, identifying an overwhelming challenge and acting on it are two different things. And Rob did both. Can you imagine what it was like to be there, in that moment, knowing that your life suddenly had a higher purpose? Knowing that you were ready to stand-up and fight violence and suffering with the empowering gift of love for children who had known far too little of it.
After being interviewed by Alec Baldwin on WNYC radio in 2012, Rob sent Alec (also a Huffington Post contributor) an open letter. In it Rob said,
Love146 is working to end child trafficking and exploitation across Asia, Europe and the United States through four main love-based programs:
Survivor care: through its homes and shelters, primarily in the Philippines, it provides holistic survivor care, helping children to become the kids they were meant to be. In 2014, Love146 began caring for their youngest child to date, a four-year old girl. This small girl was the victim of “child trafficking and incredibly cruel forms of exploitation.”
Prevention education: Love146 reaches out to vulnerable youth, teaching them how to protect themselves and their friends so that they will never have to experience the horrific world of trafficking. Since 2002, 16,000 youth have benefited from their prevention education programs.
Professional training: it trains professionals so they can care better for trafficked or exploited children as they journey through survival care.
- Empowering Movement: it seeks to empower others and give greater momentum to grassroots efforts that combat child trafficking and exploitation, something we can only do together.
Rob believes that through collective effort, careful thought and tenacity we can bring about the end of child slavery in our lifetime.
Rob encourages all of us to be audacious, have a dream and believe we can make a difference. I also believe that if we work together we can make anything happen. In the same open letter Rob said,
I want to thank Rob and Love146 for not only working to prevent child trafficking, but also for bringing love to survivors. Their work is critical in restoring life to girls and boys whom the world failed to protect.
To learn more about Love146, please visit: http://love146.org/