In 2002, Rob Morris and three of his friends traveled to Southeast Asia, curious to learn more about the emerging problem of child sex trafficking. Part of their undercover work brought them to a brothel, where they were witness to little girls in red dresses being lined up for child predators, numbers pinned to each of their fronts. One girl in particular — 146 — fixed the Americans with a piercing gaze. The team realized that, unique among the vacant stares of the other girls, she hadn’t been broken by her experience.
That experience would change their lives, giving Morris and his friends the desire to do more than just combat child trafficking and exploitation. They were going to abolish it.
Love146 began that same year by building safe homes in Asia and training aftercare workers. In 2008, they opened their Round Home for girls in the Philippines, and have added three more survivor care locations since then. They now serve both boys and girls in the Philippines, the U.S. and the U.K.
But Love146 recognized that there was more needed to end child trafficking than just survivor care. Prevention was the key, so they opened an office in Texas in 2013 to begin offering prevention education to thousands of children in the Houston area. The goal of prevention education is to reach a child before the traffickers do. Going into classrooms and community groups, they work to equip children to recognize vulnerabilities and protect themselves and their peers from exploitation. In the 2013-14 school year, they reached 6,352 youth through Prevention Education in Connecticut and Texas.
In 2015, they introduced their youth curriculum called “Not a #Number.” It is designed to reach at-risk youth in schools, child welfare and juvenile justice agencies, and other youth-serving organizations.”Not a #Number” focuses on respect, empathy, individual strengths, and the relationship between personal and societal pressures that create or increase vulnerabilities. Through open conversations and interactive activities, they help children understand child exploitation and develop skills to combat these situations.
As Serve Houston’s November Spotlight Organization, we would love for you to get involved with Love146. They are currently working on their annual benefit dinner, The Red Gala, which will be held on February 27. They are in need of volunteers to help with this event in event planning, administrative help, photography and videography. They are also looking for volunteers to help write thank you cards and work with their database.
Find out more about Love146: https://love146.org/