I had the honour tonight of attending a local event in Ottawa that benefited Love146. The night was filled with local talent: music, dancing, and a theatrical performance. It was inspiring to see a room filled with talented youth who were gathered to learn more about Love146 and child trafficking.
After an hour of performances (shout out to the bboys!!), Paul Morin -- VP of Development -- and Matthew Miller -- Network Networks Coordinator -- spoke to the group. They started by showing an introductory video. Paul then talked about his experiences in South East Asia. He talked about being approached in a mall by countless people offering him young girls. IN A MALL!
He offered us some hope when he talked about Serey -- a survivor who was recently married. He had attended the wedding and saw first-hand just how meaningful that moment was. You can read more on the Love146 Blog: "Serey Getting Married".
He talked about what Love146 does - prevention and aftercare. Something I didn't know was that they are currently taking care of three babies in the Round Home. It's not shocking that these girls would be pregnant, but I was so happy to hear that Love146 would care for the infants who were created during such a horrific act.
Something he made clear is that we're ALL responsible for these children. It is our duty to help save them from this horrifying industry. He asked the question, "are you an observer or a doer?" We have to be "doers". We can't simply ignore this issue. By ignoring it, we're letting it occur ALL over the world.
Matthew Miller talked about the Love146 Task Forces. He said something really interesting. He remarked that - in that room - all would be impacted by the issue. Some would read about Love146 and become aware of the issues. Others would be so affected they'd donate, and a few would be so affected that they'd have to take a stand and make it a point to become an abolitionist. When I first read about Love146, I knew I couldn't just donate and be content with that, and even the creation of this campaign, We Are All Human, is not enough. I wish I could do more. I wish that everyone in that room had left feeling the way I do. Nothing feels like it's enough so I have to keep fighting. I can't stop. I don't think I ever will.
I found it really inspiring to see Paul still getting a little choked up when he spoke about the issue. When he addressed the group, he had to take a minute to compose himself. Too see what he's seen, to experience what he's experienced -- it's not just a story. It's a dark and devastating reality. One that we need to STOP ignoring. It's growing too quickly.
At the end, I introduced myself to Paul and told him it was an honour to hear him speak. I told him that I was the one who created the #WeAreAllHuman campaign. What is interesting is that before I even started this campaign, I had been on the phone with him and Elizabeth from Love146 who had offered their support. It was that phone call that truly inspired me to go through with this campaign, so to meet one of the people in that call was such a blessing. It, yet again, reinforced WHY I am doing this for Love146. It's an organization FILLED with passionate individuals who are TRULY affected by this issue. They live and breath this devastating crime, and they will not stop until it's abolished.
I wanted to thank ALL of you for helping me with the #WeAreAllHuman campaign. Love146 has been really impressed with our work to spread awareness and to fundraise for the survivors of child sex slavery. They have appreciated us and supported us FROM THE BEGINNING. All of your voices have been so important, and I hope you won't stop. I hope you'll all become DOERS and feel like nothing is ever enough.
I also urge you all to check the Love146 Calendar to see if there are any events in your area. I promise you'll leave feeling inspired. This is not their job. This is their struggle, and even though it's difficult to wake up each morning to learn more about this devastating issue, they do it because they care. Because they can't let this issue go on.
Keep educating yourself. Donate to Love146. Start a Task Force. It's not an easy world issue to learn about daily, but if all of us were to do our part, maybe we could one day wake up and be proud of the world we live in.
My Unrealistic (??) Dream
During the performances tonight, I thought to myself, "How amazing would it be if Everly did a benefit concert that included some speakers from Love146? Gosh, if I had the ability to organize it, I would. I think it would be such a SPECIAL night. :) Would you all go?
“Got to be a warrior, in my head, in my heart...Got to be a warrior, find the strength, in these scars. It’s time to turn around; it’s time to fight for what I believe…”
There are many individuals, groups who are fighting as warriors to stop unbelievable and heartbreaking tragedies in many different categories of the world. One of these is human trafficking; “the tricking or luring of people away from their homeland to work under exploitative conditions elsewhere.” Imagine trusting someone and them betraying the trust…suddenly being thrown into a place where unspeakable actions are being taken out against you. Eventually you may even start to feel it’s your fault. Wondering why this happened to you and seeing no means of escaping it. Sometimes individuals are not taken away anyway, being used at home or within their own country. Not feeling true love, having the warmth and the incredible gift of freedom; wondering if they may ever get out. The heroes that speak up, fight back, and work their hardest to help anybody going through these terrible fates are extraordinary. The victims who are warriors and fight back and work hard to get out, to remain strong and hopeful; my hat is off to you. Never taking for granted unconditional love, the warmth of a good home, and the feeling of freedom…that is what can be learned from these victims. Not only learning from them, but trying to be vigilant in helping them is one way to show appreciation for all you have.
According to The U.S. State Department, there are roughly 12.3 million adults and children who suffer in forced labor or forced prostitution around the world. This number is astounding, but hopefully by either donating, volunteering, and keeping your own eyes/ears open we can bring this starting statistic to a much lower number. No one deserves to be treated with disrespect, to not feel safe and loved…to have freedom. I may sound like a broken record, and maybe I am, but if we sit and do nothing we are almost just as bad. The saying, “to the world you might be one person, but to one person you might be the world.” Truly is the idea of a person (author unknown) who knew how the smallest gesture can create a very big impact (even if it’s just for one individual). We must start somewhere, and a solution can eventually be reached, we first must try.
So if you would like to be a warrior and help there are many organizations that you can use and get involved in: Love 146.org, sctnow.org, notforsalecampaign.org/, and endhumantrafficking.org/ are just to name a few. There are many out there, all you have to do is look. I know not everyone can donate, but even bringing to light this excruciatingly saddening topic is a step in the right direction. Together we can reach the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel.
About a week ago, I put out a request for bloggers and then life happened and I never followed up on exactly what I wanted (sorry!).
I'd love to form a group of contributors who'd be willing to blog on here. There's no requirements on how often you should blog, but I'd love it if you could post once or twice a month if you feel inspired. There is such a power to blogging, and my thinking was that if we could create a powerful blog with diverse voices that covers many different topics related to human trafficking that maybe people would become more inspired to join the movements against modern day slavery whether they are in your communities or online. :)
What to blog about:
As for content, my only request is that we keep it related to human trafficking/modern day slavery. This opens up MANY topics. You can blog about organizations you love, videos you have found, news stories, your thoughts on the issue, etc. You can even write something empowering to the girls/boys who feel a loss of self. Maybe you have a personal story of adversity that can become a letter of empowerment to someone who is struggling. Maybe you understand the pain of feeling less human. You can be as creative as you want.
This is a great opportunity to start a real conversation about so many different topics related to the issue of human trafficking, and I'd love to be inspired by all of your beautiful words.
I have added a tab for "Love Warriors". That is where we will put a picture/art of all of our Love Warriors who choose to be bloggers. So once you've decided that you'd love to join us, tweet me a picture (of you or something that represents you), and I will start building that section.
How to join us
DM me your email on Twitter. If I am not following you, tell me to. I'll then invite you via blogger to become a contributor. You may have to make a google account with your email if you're not on gmail, but I believe it's a simple process to get on blogger.
You can update you own posts via blogger whenever you feel inspired. Let me know when you have, and I'll tweet about it. :)
Please join us! Your voice is important!
Here is our video for the Love146 Broken Hearts Campaign. I want to thank EVERYONE who submitted something to be featured in the video. You are all SO amazing.
I'd also like to thank Ashley who put the video together; Zoe who helped her organize the video; Kristen who helped plan the video and sent out puzzle pendants; and Rachel who helped plan the video. It was a GREAT group of people to work with.
I definitely got teary eyed the first few times I watched it reading and listening to everyone's broken hearts.
Thanks for watching!