Terror is defined as “violence or threats of violence used for intimidation or coercion.”
At Love146 we are familiar with terror, as we have seen it played out in the lives of vulnerable children through some of the most unimaginable acts of violence. Though the factors contributing to the vulnerabilities of these children are complex, often poverty is a driving cause.
Serey is just one of several examples we’ve encountered. Before she came to our Round Home in the Philippines, she was lured away from her family with the promise of a job at a department store. But the department store didn’t exist. Instead, she was put to work in a bar, that she later found out was a brothel. Serey spent months in this dark reality, forced to stay in the brothel by threats of violence and isolation from others.
As an organization we have an admittedly bold vision statement. “The end of child trafficking and exploitation. Nothing less.” We have been told that our vision is naïve or idealistic. We prefer to believe that it is audacious. And it is people of audacity who change the world.
But in all honesty, there are days that the magnitude, complexities and horror of the injustices that we deal with are overwhelming and our vision begins to fade and seems to feel only like a distant dream that will never come true. Our audacity factor begins to dwindle. And then someone throws us a lifeline and hope begins to rise again as Cervantes wrote, “like a phoenix from the ashes. “
That lifeline this week comes from Gary Haugen who released his new book today, co-written with Victor Boutros, appropriately called The Locust Effect. An incredibly compelling read on why the end of poverty requires the end of violence.
The book is heartbreaking, challenging, insightful and inspiring. But most of all, it reeks of hope. It is a must read. This is a book not based on stale theories, but on a depth of understanding that comes from experience.
Though I don’t think there are any “silver bullets” to ending poverty, I do believe that The Locust Effect presents a way forward that is not only often overlooked, but also absolutely crucial. I am grateful for Gary for not only his leadership in the movement to fight injustice, but for his example of audacity and belief that another world — a world free from violence and oppression is possible.