“We found ourselves standing shoulder to shoulder with predators in a small room, looking at little girls through a pane of glass. All of the girls wore red dresses with a number pinned to their front for identification.
They sat, blankly watching cartoons on TV. They were vacant, shells …. Their light had been taken from them. These children… raped each night… seven, ten, fifteen times every night. They were so young. Thirteen, eleven… it was hard to tell. Sorrow covered their faces with nothingness.
Some of the children were kept and ‘rented’, others were sold – to the highest bidder – for as little as US$70.”
Her number tag said “146”.
This is a story told by Rob Morris, President and Co-founder of an organisation called Love 146. This night in 2002 is vividly etched into his memory. It is the night he made a silent promise to the children he saw in that ‘brothel’ and the thousands more like them, who are sold into child sex slavery every year.
The organisation that Morris set up is based in America, but it works in South-East Asia. It has close relationships with organisations that rescue children from child sexual slavery.
Offering hope and protection
Love 146’s primary projects are safe houses, the Round House – which provides therapy, medical assistance, food, love and nurturing for young female survivors of sex slavery, and the White House, which offers the same support for boys. The organisation continues the journey of survivor recovery with these children as they become strong enough to leave the care of the Houses, and helps them regain their lives, ensuring they don’t fall back into the hands of predators, which is an all-too-common story.
Love 146 works towards prevention too. Morris believes that the internet is providing the ‘new streets’ of sex trafficking and is determined for child exploitation to be included in mainstream sex education classes so our young people become knowledgeable about an issue that many adults would rather not discuss, not because they don’t want to acknowledge it, but because the sheer number of children affected and the true horror they face, is hard for many adults to cope with.
And yet, we must, if we are to do anything about it.
The work of Love 146 is funded mostly by caring individuals and Sydney Criminal Lawyers Help Fund is proud to be making a $500 donation to this cause. If you would also like to contribute, you can donate here.
While Love 146 was founded because of atrocities against children used and sold as sex slaves in South-East Asia, child trafficking is a global problem.
Kenya, in East Africa, is another country where human trafficking, labour slavery and child sex slavery are rife.
HAART Kenya is a non-government organisation founded in 2010 by a passionate group of lawyers, missionaries, and humanitarians, who recognised Kenya as a source, transit area and destination country for men, women and children forced into labour and sex trafficking. Then organisation works tirelessly to prevent this.
The 2014 Global Slavery Index, (the flagship report of the Walk Free Foundation) estimated that
36 million people worldwide are victims. Because human trafficking is highly profitable, it is becoming one of the fastest growing international criminal industries.
Human trafficking occurs mostly in countries with mass poverty, limited social structures and high numbers of vulnerable people, particularly youths, and few resources to combat the problem, but no country is immune to this important issue.
It is only through the valuable work of organisations such as HAART Kenya, which is working to assist other organisations at a grass roots level to help victims to regain their lives, as well as to prosecute offenders, that higher level authorities – police and government – can begin to assess, monitor and confront this issue.
We are proud to also donate $500 to this important charity. If you would like to send much-needed funds, you can do so here. Every dollar helps to set another human being free.