Thursday, September 10, 2009

Love 146

by Kate McElhinney

I first heard about the organization Love 146 through my church, Coast Vineyard. About a year ago, the assistant pastor made an announcement that a few people who wanted to start a coalition for this nonprofit here in San Diego would be meeting after the service. Anyone who was interested could join them for a brief meeting out on the designated benches. I considered attending this meeting, but decided that I was too busy that day.

Over the next few months, I was surprised to see how the ministry had grown. It kept popping up in conversations, or meetings would be announced in the church bulletin. A couple from my home group, Rob and Kelly Lower, became actively involved. They would eagerly tell us each week about upcoming events. Last spring, they helped organize a rummage sale and a dance to raise money to help support prevention programs and relief work for children who have been victims of sex trafficking.

Now, just yesterday, Rob and Kelly told me that they will be stepping into more of a leadership position by becoming the point of contact for the San Diego region. They are busy planning various fundraising events, such as a gala, for the upcoming year. The coalition has surprisingly boomed over the last year as word has spread about Love 146 and their important message.

Love 146 works to abolish child sex slavery and exploitation. Every year at least 1 million children are estimated to be trafficked around the world, mainly in the Asian region, Europe, Africa, and yes, sadly the United States. They are forced to work in dangerous conditions with little or no pay, and are often subjected to beatings or rape, and suffer from serious physical and psychological damage.

By training aftercare workers, multiplying safe homes, and providing therapy, Love 146 works to provide tools and support for victims so they can transition back into their communities. The organization also protects children by developing and sustaining targeted prevention projects in high risk communities while defending the rights of the vulnerable through advocacy.

I am surprised with how quickly word has spread about Love 146 over the past year. Even though it might not be direct, I like to think that my work with Plant With Purpose helps this organization. As a result of deforestation, poor families are forced to migrate into slums, making them and their children more susceptible to traffickers. By providing environmental solutions to humanitarian problems, Plant With Purpose focuses on the root issues of poverty, thus helping the organizations who work to defend people on the other end.

If you would like to get involved with Love 146 or if you are interested in finding out more about coalitions in your area, visit www.love146.org. Or, feel free to contact me if you’re in San Diego and I can pass your message on to Rob and Kelly.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for bringing attention to this issue. Poverty is the root cause of trafficking, be it, sex or forced labor. In Thailand, those living in the hill cities are also at risk because of the racism they face from the rest of the Thai population. This racism prevents them from getting jobs in the city. Traffickers realize that this population is vulnerable and sends recruiters to the families. They lie to them and say they will help find jobs for their children and will send money back to the family. Or the recruiters will offer up to a years wages for a female child. The families are so desperate at times that they believe the recruiters. Your organization is directly connected to the fight against poverty in Thailand by working with these hill tribes. Addressing the social, economic and environmental issues plaguing these groups helps fight against these traffickers. Fewer families, in Thailand and many other places, are faced with the choice between eating/surviving or believing the traffickers lies.... because of Plant with Purpose/Floresta.

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