I thought I was so dirty and so useless in the world. I felt like a doormat and I could be thrown away. I wanted to die then…Because of Love146, I’ve learned to fight. Love146 is the reason I am here.”A young person in our survivor care in the Philippines
The suicide rate in the United States is at its highest in nearly 30 years. Between 40,000-50,000 people will take their own lives this year. For many of us, this hits close to home. I’m one of those. Someone dear to me took their own life. I live with the loss and carry a sadness that I never expect to leave me, along with so many haunting and unanswered questions.
Unsurprisingly, suicide is a risk for victims of trafficking. In our survivor care program in The Philippines, 30% or more of the children we care for have experienced thoughts of suicide. Here in our US Survivor Care Program, 47% of the survivors we work with have considered suicide and 45% have deliberately harmed their body – for example, cut or burned themselves – to cope with intense emotional feelings and pain.
Those are crushing numbers. It’s those numbers that make me so deeply grateful for my front line colleagues at Love146, working everyday with children who might be considering suicide or self-harm. At Love146, we provide wrap around, holistic care for those working through the immense trauma of child trafficking. My co-workers are there everyday, helping a child filled with potential know they are loved and learn to respond to temporary (but really hard) circumstances without feeling like their only options are suicide or self-harm. Love146 is there to show children who have been trafficked another way forward. We don’t ever want those who love these children to live with the loss, sadness, and haunting “what if?,” questions that too many of us know too well.