Annual Report 2013-14 | Love146
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The abolition of child trafficking and exploitation.
Nothing less.

 

4StarRectBW      BBB-accredited-charity

Love146 is one of only a few hundred organizations that has met all 20 standards of charity accountability set by the Better Business Bureau.

 

LETTER FROM OUR PRESIDENT, ROB MORRIS

I will never forget something that Amanda said. Amanda is a survivor of child trafficking and exploitation who came to our Round Home in the Philippines years ago. She eventually graduated from the program, was reintegrated back into a community, married a wonderful man and has a family of her own now. While she was in our care she said, “Love146 gives us strength to stand up and continue our journey.”

You will see in this report the recurring theme of a journey. The journey of children walking the long road of recovery toward healing and freedom. The journey of dedicated staff walking that road with survivors. The crazy journey of three men running across Europe because of their passion to change the world for children. You will also see your journey in these pages, as none of this would even be possible without you on this road.

The journey is hard, long and heartbreaking. It is also beautiful, joyful and full of hope. There are peaks as well as valleys. There are moments the road gets dark, and there are times of almost blinding light.

The point is we are in it together. You. Me. The children. That’s what makes the journey not only doable…but worth it.

This journey is a marathon, not a sprint. I am deeply grateful to be in it with you. We are Love146!

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Rob Morris
President & Co-founder


Program Spotlights

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We are Serving Younger Survivors in the Philippines

Younger survivors in our care

“These things are not easy to look at. We turn away with burning eyes, and only for the children’s sake could we ever look again.” -Amy Carmichael

“This is by far our youngest child yet.” These are heartbreaking words we had to say more than once last year. We have three survivors in our care in the Philippines that aren’t even old enough for kindergarten. We’re gutted and grieving at this reality.

In the spring of 2014, we had the wind knocked out of us. The youngest child we had ever taken into our care to that point was admitted to our Love146 Round Home in the Philippines. She is a victim of child trafficking and incredibly cruel forms of exploitation. She had just turned 4 years old when she joined us. We’ve since received children—survivors of sex trafficking—into our care that are even younger than she is.

This is a new type of horror for us. We have been told that we must have “thick skin” to deal with these kinds of issues every day. We don’t. We still have the wind knocked out of us. And rightly so. In the wake of such news, we feel fragile. We gasp for air. We continue to fight. We move forward, and we hope. Just like the children we partner with. As always, we’ll walk with the survivors we serve for the long haul. Our journey with these toddlers has just begun.

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Our survivor care is more about a family than a home

Our survivor care is more about a family than a home

Months ago, I found myself in a meeting at Yale University discussing the concepts of modern-day slavery. Following this meeting, I left to visit Brianna*, a client in our U.S. Survivor Care program. As I knocked on the door and walked into Brianna’s living room, I moved abruptly from theories into the messy realities in the life of one girl. I could see Brianna hiding beneath blankets, her eyes peering out. I walked over and sat on the edge of the couch. I asked if she was ok, she shook her head. I asked if something happened, she nodded her head. Then she opened her mouth and quietly said “No one cares.”

“You know that I care?” She nodded. I told her, “I know you see me and you think I’m only one person, but I have coworkers at Love146 working hard so I can be here because they care about you. There is an even larger number of people who give money and support to Love146 because they care about you. When you look at me, I want you to see the hundreds of people behind me who are supporting you, because they care about YOU.”
-Erin Williamson, Love146 Survivor Support Coordinator

Because Love146’s supporters stand with us, we can tell this child, Your case will not end when you leave the child welfare system or when you turn 18 or 21. You are not a “case”—you are a human being. We’ll sit at the DMV with you. We’ll take you to Denny’s for dinner after a hard day, if that’s where you want to go. When you ask, we’ll pay and hold your hand while the tattoo of your trafficker’s name is covered up with a beautiful new design. If we come to visit and you’re crying on the kitchen floor, we’ll sit down on the floor with you. When we watch you make unhealthy choices, we’ll have the tough conversations. When you pass your classes, we’ll take you to the Miranda Lambert concert, because she’s your favorite. Because that’s what family does. Love146 isn’t just homes. We are a family. A family isn’t blood, it’s sweat and tears too. And it’s that sort of family none of us could get through life without. Love146 is a family like that. We’re in it together—with those who support us, and with the children we support.

*Child pictured is a model and not known to be exploited.

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What if boys are just as vulnerable?

What if boys are just as vulnerable?

Most days this year, our staff were in classroom and community settings providing prevention education to youth. This education is meant to be preventative, but once a child knows what trafficking or exploitation look like, they sometimes also connect the dots to past experiences of abuse or exploitation. We intentionally create space for this, and make ourselves available after sessions for youth to process and disclose safety issues so we can point them toward services and recovery.

Until February of 2014, 100% of these disclosures were from or about girls. It would make you think that only girls were vulnerable to exploitation and trafficking. But we weren’t convinced. If we saw boys as children that deserve protection, who are not at fault for their abuse, would they begin to see themselves that way too? So we made some changes. Instead of providing examples of exploitation that focused on girls with an endnote of “and this can happen to boys too,” we started to provide real examples of male vulnerability and exploitation. We tried to give equal attention to both genders. We began to break down barriers that would prevent a boy from asking for help or disclosing abuse. Discussions opened up about the societal pressures men face—fear of being labeled as “gay,” not being strong enough, or that they should enjoy it because boys are supposed to like sex.

As we started making these changes, more and more boys opened up and shared hard stories with hopes of finding peace and recovery. As we became more purposeful in our efforts to also reach boys, we had 11 disclosures of male abuse between February and June of 2014.

Our hope is to continue educating, breaking down the misconception of what a victim could look like, so that any child can self-identify and self-emancipate. If there’s one thing we’ve learned, it’s that these boys aren’t invisible. We just weren’t looking hard enough.

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Survivor Care

 

Love146’s Survivor Care programs provide a space of safety for children that provides holistic care, addressing the biological, psychological/emotional, social, financial, and spiritual impacts of victimization. We prioritize healthy integration into community and strive to see survivors become self-sufficient and flourishing adults, which includes freedom from revictimization or dependency. We collaborate with existing local solutions, sharing information and partnering to ensure wraparound care.

As of June 2014

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It’s a journey…

At Love146, we are always reminded that freedom is not an event, it’s a journey. For some survivors this journey may take months, for others years. What is important is that survivors have a place where they can journey to freedom safely—that’s what we are facilitating.

“The journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step.” -Lao Tsu

For us at Love146, the work of Survivor Care is also a journey. We began in 2002, building and expanding safe homes in Asia, and these projects continue impacting children today. In 2008, we opened the Love146 Round Home for girls in the Philippines. This year, backed by years of research about the exploitation and vulnerability of boys, we opened the Love146 White Home serving boys in the Philippines. Additionally, after much research, regional assessment, and survivor input we began caring for survivors in Connecticut and laying a foundation to expand these services to Texas. Through our U.S. Survivor Care program, Love146 provides survivors with trauma-informed advocates equipped to journey with them through the recovery process.

In 2013, three British Love146 supporters took their solidarity with this journey to another level: Guy, Rob, and Tom, along with a growing team of runners inspired by them, ran 1,000 miles in 33 days (the equivalent of 39 marathons) across nine nations in Eastern Europe. The goal and result of their effort was to raise funds that would enable a home to be started in the U.K. With the momentum they began, in June 2014 we hired Lynne Chitty, who began developing The Love146 Thousand Miles Home—a safe home in the U.K. that would serve survivors trafficked into the U.K. from abroad. Reflecting on what brought her to Love146, Lynne, a respected expert on child trafficking in the U.K., shares, “Twenty five years ago, I worked on the first child trafficking investigation in the U.K. I got involved because I couldn’t turn my back on these children. I’m still an abolitionist today because I saw that my help works.”

Prevention Education

 

To prevent the exploitation of children, we must reach them before traffickers do. So in 2010, Love146 started teaching youth how to recognize recruitment tactics, understand vulnerabilities, and develop skills to safely navigate potential and existing exploitative situations.

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A New Curriculum…

As we increased the scope and reach of our prevention education program this year, we leveraged the experience to begin developing a new curriculum that would take our impact to the next level. This new curriculum, Not A #Number, was developed in partnership with experts who specialize in the evaluation of effective prevention programming. We have moved beyond the traditional “information deficit” model which suggests that if youth only KNEW about dangers, their behavior would change. The Not A #Number curriculum resources youth in a manner that inspires them to make safe choices when they encounter potentially exploitative situations and utilize healthy support systems to decrease their vulnerability. In 2013/14, we also adjusted our practices to address less expected and understood stories of exploitation, including cases that don’t involve typical “pimps” (e.g., peer recruitment, families, gangs, survival sex), and situations of boys being trafficked and exploited. As we expanded our dialogue, we saw children make relevant connections to the issue and received a wider variety of disclosures. Not A #Number is our response to what we’ve learned through years of refining best practices. This program is also unique in that it not only targets and equips youth to reduce their vulnerabilities and respond to threats of trafficking, but supports parents and the professionals who work with children in a holistic collaborative response.

Equipping & Empowering

 

Growing the modern day abolition movement and seeing people equipped to truly make a difference has been important to Love146 from its founding days. Deficits in awareness and understanding among professionals and community members who work with children contribute to low identification of those who are at high risk, as well as those who are actively being trafficked and exploited. Love146 is working to build the capacity of professionals, organizations, and communities to prevent the trafficking of children, as well as identify and support victims.

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Operations

 

A LETTER FROM OUR CEO, STEVE MARTIN

The work we’re privileged to undertake is made possible by the many partners and donors of Love146. Each year when our global team reviews the programmatic and financial totals we’re deeply humbled by all who so generously give of their time and finances. This last year’s review was no exception. The numbers seen in this annual report, both the financials and the lives impacted, represent incredible amounts of sacrifice, generous giving, thoughtfulness and plain old hard work from our supporters, our team, and those we programmatically partner with. Simply put, the funds received in 2013/14 fueled remarkable programs that directly impacted many children’s lives.

We know that the journey to abolition is not a quick road, nor is restoration an overnight process for those we serve, and we’re profoundly grateful to be entrusted with resources to continue building Love146 over time. Our impact grew over the past year—partly due to greater resources along with fine tuning various programmatic and operational processes. Yet even with these results, our hearts ache for more: more children protected, defended, restored and empowered. As we continue into our next financial year, we do so with our vision burning in the forefront of our mind: The abolition of child trafficking and exploitation. Nothing less.

Thank you for journeying with Love146. And on behalf of the children we serve thank you for your support.

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Steve Martin
CEO


Organizational Spotlights

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ReImagining our Merchandise

Reimagining our merchandise

For years, Love146 has sold merchandise, supplying wonderful fans who wanted to wear their support on their sleeves. However, we kept coming up against some tensions. The deeper we looked, the harder it got to verify the supply chain from field to factory. Even if we found a way to verify things like cotton sources, we feared we may be feeding a culture that demands piles of disposable stuff at any cost. That kind of thinking fuels those who use, exploit, and discard others.

We just couldn’t shake the notion that a charity shouldn’t supply people with brand promoting stuff that could undermine their mission. We had to respect you, respect our mission, and most of all respect the children we partner with. We had to say “No.” No to the risk of exploitation. No to the demand for more disposable stuff at any cost. No to a seriously questionable amount of net “good” really achieved for humanity. We had to stop and reimagine a different solution.

Since then, we’ve been making our merchandise from the most sustainable material out there: recycled goods. We’re cleaning, sewing, and reprinting discarded shirts and clothing. We’ve even made brass jewelry from old land mines. To ensure that this process isn’t exploiting anyone, we’ve partnered with a business called Imagine Goods, which employs survivors and those at risk of trafficking and exploitation. Imagine Goods provides living wages and supportive work environments through child care and education support.

We believe in restoring what’s been discarded by others. There’s no fuzzy supply chain. Like the people who make it and wear it, each product is unique and dignifying.

Watch the full story of ReImagine

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Partnership with Michelle Phan

Partnership with Michelle Phan

In March of 2014, artist & entrepreneur Michelle Phan released a video on her YouTube channel sharing the story of the girl who was labeled 146. She had a simple request of her fans—remember the girl and respond. Those moved by the message drew a heart with a 146 in it on their hands and posted it online, using the hashtag #rememberthegirl. On Twitter, #rememberthegirl received over half a million mentions. On instagram, we saw over 10,000 responses. We have been blown away, yet again, by how the story of this one young girl has inspired so many.

In only three days, we saw an additional 180,000 visitors to our site. Maybe more impressively, we saw the average visitor during those days spend more than half an hour exploring the information on love146.org. Thousands who engaged with this message from Michelle Phan weren’t simply willing to take her word for it. They spent significant time on our site researching and learning about the issue and solutions.

We are humbled and grateful when each person brings what they have to the table. Michelle has continued to journey with Love146 since then, making significant contributions to our Prevention Education curriculum.

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Love146 Texas: Now Open!

Love146 Texas: Now open!

Love146 came to the Lone Star state in June 2013. Our mission there has been to protect vulnerable children and reach them before traffickers do. Our highly qualified staff teach in Houston schools to at-risk youth, connect with church partners, and empower others to join our movement of Abolition.

In our first year of operations there, Love146 Texas educated 2,047 youth on how to protect themselves from human trafficking. We’ve also educated professionals in Texas who work with youth and other community members so that they are able to identify and support youth at risk for trafficking. Recognizing that sometimes prevention efforts are too late, Love146 began laying groundwork to expand our U.S. Survivor Care program to the Houston area the following year, in order to provide direct support for youth who have already been trafficked.

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Revenue & Overhead Trends

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Revenue & Assets Breakdown

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Program Spending Breakdown

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Our ‘13-’14 Board of Directors

Rudy Chavez, Chairman

Peggy Crane

Ellie Dyk, Secretary

Paul Gordon, Treasurer

Brian McGown

Karen Olcott

 


“We envision the day when human trafficking is prevented, and until then, we journey with the affected.”

-Jim Ehrman, Love146 Executive Director, North America

 

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