This past weekend I went to a benefit concert for Love146. Besides discovering that I am actually a fan of Waterdeep and getting to see some friends play and sing worship on the stage, I learned about an amazing group of people who are fighting for God to change the world.
Two children per minute are trafficked for sexual exploitation.
Let that sink in.
There is a lot of evil in the world. There is a lot that needs to be fought and destroyed.
However, nothing, for me, is of greater need of obliteration than the fact practice of selling children for sex.
When I was eleven I remember riding my bike up and down the street, learning to fish, and playing with my cousin safe and sound at my grandmother's house. At The Apocalypse Bar in Cambodia a couple sold children as young as eleven to pedophiles.
Many people have heard of IJM, a fantastic organization that uses legal methods for freeing children all over the world, as well as aiding those wronged by corruption. They fill a need in this world.
Love146 does as well. They have a bit of a different area that they cover. They looked at the problem of child exploitation and decided that the needs they were called to answer were two-fold.
The traffickers in every country (including the U.S.) are clever. They prey on desperate people, promising improved lives for impoverished children. They use lies, threats, anything they can to separate children from their homes. They will tell a family that the child will work for a major company, or be put into a government home and given education. The parents will gladly send their children off, believing they have done something wonderful for them.
Love146 works to educate the parents of children against these tricks. They know the stories used, and fight to stay one step ahead of traffickers. There have even been stories of villages chasing traffickers out of town, because they could recognize the danger!
What an awesome thought. If people are able to see the evil coming, they can fight it. They can hold back children, they can save innocence. Simply by ensuring that information is widespread and helpful.
Children will slip through the cracks. Brothels will have their victims. And then they must be recovered. Fought for. IJM fights to have the abusers jailed and the children freed. There is a fabled group of bikers who just bust in and take the children out. There are many, many fighting to retrieve the innocent from the hands of evil.
But when they are out, then what? Their lives have been crushed. What should have never happened has happened. Love 146 Co-Founder Rob Morris describes them as robots, with all humanity driven from them.
Love146 is working to provide safehomes for these victims. These homes provide:
Housing, nutrition, clean water, clothing
Medical care, hygiene training
Psychological development, trauma counseling
Education, vocational training
Art, play and music therapy
Recreation, cultural social experiences
Life planning and reintegration to society
Amazing huh? And what a brilliant plan. My heart screams out to attack their attackers, to destroy those who destroy, to take the children and run them far away. But that is as far as my mind runs. Because hatred can only take you so far. It drives to more evil, not less.
These people have instead chosen love. They love these kids. In a pure, Godly, truthful way. They teach these children what love is by loving them. They provide for their needs. They fight to show them that they are something beautiful, unique, beloved. Evil may have tried to convince them that they were trash, useful only for carnal abuse, then destined to be discarded and forgotten. It may have almost had success. Except that love, God's love, the true love that is pouring out from this community, completely trumps the lies of evil.
In the safehouses children do recover. They discover that they are people, not objects. They learn to play, to socialize, to LOVE, and to be loved.
This is just the tip of what these amazing people and this amazing organization is about. I urge you to check them out yourself. They are changing the world. They are trusting God to use them in ways that seem impossible. They are challenging you and me to do the same.
I say let's do it.