It’s Asian American, Native Hawaiian, And Pacific Islander Heritage Month! This month, we want to celebrate just a few of the many AAPI colleagues and partners who are shaping our history as an organization and fighting to address disparities in their work ending child trafficking and helping support children in their vulnerabilities.
Kelly Her brings relentless advocacy.
Kelly works for Hmong American Partnership in Minneapolis. She’s been a facilitator of our Not a Number curriculum since 2018 and has led 7 groups of youth through the curriculum. At the Hmong American partnership, Kelly advocates for at-risk youth, preventing sexual exploitation of youth and fighting to eliminate human trafficking around the world. Kelly is a First-gen Hmong American Womxn advocating for underrepresented young folks. Kelly shares, “I care about preventing human and child trafficking in my Southeast Asian community because it’s a taboo subject that is not discussed. By providing education and creating safe spaces for youth to discuss what trafficking is, it helps give youths the language and the tools to understand trafficking and sexual violence, safety plan for risky situations, and be aware about healthy and unhealthy relationship characteristics. As a Youth Advocate, my goal is to support and protect youths and I can do that by continuing prevention work.”
Minal Patel Davis brings deliberate collaboration.
Minal is the Director of the Houston Mayor’s Office of Human Trafficking and Domestic Violence. With Minal’s leadership, Houston has a growing international reputation as a place with a deep commitment to protecting its citizens from trafficking. She has helped set anti-trafficking policies for Houston’s city departments and ordinances to regulate industries that are commonly used like the hotel industry, and she’s built bridges to fill gaps in housing and healthcare fields. People tend to talk about the places that are “the worst for human trafficking.” We should talk about places where solutions are thriving. That’s where Houstonians should be proud: Thanks in part to Minal, the city of Houston has been regarded around the world as a leader in municipal efforts to combat human trafficking. In 2017, Love146 collaborated with Minal and the City of Houston on a social media based awareness campaign called “#WatchforTraffick” that reached over 1 million children, parents, and caregivers with messages about risk factors, online safety, and information about how to get help.
Ella L. brings intentional thoughtfulness.
“Ella” (identity concealed) has been supporting youth in our Survivor Care program for 3 years as a bilingual social worker. Feedback from survivors and their families show they often feel profoundly heard and understood by her. Ella has unique knowledge, experience, and perspective and we keep learning from her at Love146. She’s often highlighting social issues and inspires us to learn more, and seek more context. Ella has training in a variety of trauma-treatment approaches, which brings our team into deeper discussion about how to apply a trauma-lens to situations. Here is Ella’s own reflection on what motivates her: “Working with immigrant youth now and trying to help them to improve the quality of their lives provides me with a sense of fulfillment, and a way to give back to the immigrant adults who took care of me when I was little. My mother is an Asian immigrant from the Philippines. My father is from Latin America – Puerto Rico. I’m motivated by a personal connection to immigrants, not only through my parents, but through memories of my babysitters who were immigrant women. Undocumented immigrants are generally unseen & marginalized people, portrayed in degrading and humiliating ways: as the butt of a joke and as people invading the USA. There is little discussion about the systemic factors or the history that led to their home countries becoming destabilized to begin with and the root causes of migration. There is a need for more human trafficking prevention work for all children, but especially for undocumented immigrants.”