Hi! I'm Geoff Girardin. You may remember me from such posts as that one where I got engaged and that one where I needed a job. Well, I am now directly using my mom's blog to talk about something totally awesome.
I first encountered LOVE146 at the beginning of 2009 at a youth conference in northern RI. It wasn't during a presentation, it was before the founder took to the stage. It was just me, killing time in the church foyer and looking at a banner for the organization.
A banner that brought me to tears.
It talked about the story behind the movement. The reason why LOVE146 exists. You see, there was this group of people. They had heard about the terrible business of child trafficking, and were joining undercover law enforcement in a brothel overseas. They were along for the trip, which was to infiltrate and identify that children were indeed being sold there.
They stood, shoulder to shoulder, with other men. Twisted men. They all stared at a pane of glass, looking into a "playroom". It was an empty room that held a number of little girls. Four year olds. Seven year olds. Thirteen year olds. They all wore little red dresses with numbers attached to them. They didn't have names anymore, just numbers.
A television was on in the corner playing cartoons, there were some toys scattered around, but none of the girls were interested. They were all just staring off into space. Vacant. There was no life there. Except one girl. One little girl, who was new to the brothel. She was standing at the glass, staring into the eyes of each and every man. She still had fight in her eyes. She was alive.
Her number was 146.
The brothel was later raided, and the girls were rescued, but the girl who wore 146 was nowhere to be found. She was gone.
Rob Morris and the others who went undercover went on to form LOVE146, an organization dedicated to the abolition of child sex slavery. They have a RoundHome in Singapore, where girls who have been rescued from sexual slavery go for rehabiliation and therapy. They have USA, Europe, and Asia programs to help children in those regions.
The trafficking industry is the second largest industry in the world, and it is terrifying to hear just how close to home it really is. On my way into work this morning, I saw that a pastor and his wife were arrested in Vermont because they were running a trafficking ring. This doesn't just happen in third world countries. This happens here.
We have held numerous events to raise money and awareness at our church, and we are excited to be participating in the upcoming Ride4Love, in Saratoga Springs, NY. Myself and my team will be riding a 15 mile bike ride, and gaining sponsorship with all the proceeds going directly to LOVE146.
This cause is so near and dear to my heart. Every video I see breaks my heart wide open, and every success story I hear fills me with such joy. I ask that you please donate by clicking the link below, and support the cause during the latest fundraiser.
Oh, and one more thing about the RoundHome. They just celebrated their second wedding on campus. The girl is a former resident of the RoundHome, she successfully finished rehabilitation and therapy and rode her wedding gift down the aisle; LOVE146 blessed them with a bicycle so they could make deliveries from their farm to the shops in town.
There is hope. These children just need to be shown it.
And they will never know without your help.
You can support Lacey here or Geoff here.
Thank you for making a difference and taking the step to bless a child.