Love146 promotes awareness of child sex trafficking
Published: Friday, February 10, 2012
Updated: Friday, February 10, 2012 02:02
Tufts' chapter of Love146, an international non-governmental organization (NGO) dedicated to the abolition of child sex slavery and exploitation, last night hosted a Valentine's Day event in order to promote awareness of the Love146 organization on campus and spread its message about the eradication of child sex trafficking.
The event, titled "Broken Hearts: Something Worth Celebrating," was held in the Sophia Gordon Multipurpose Room.
"We're celebrating our broken hearts because out of our broken hearts comes compassion," Jane Jihae Yoon, the founder of the Tufts' chapter of Love146, said.
The evening opened with screenings of two short promotional videos for Love146 that emphasized the organization's mission and message. Members of the Tufts chapter then explained how they became involved with the issue, and the event concluded with an informal dialogue inspired by discussion questions placed throughout the venue.
Yoon, a senior, started the Tufts Love146 chapter after being sexually assaulted on campus during the fall of her junior year by a student from a different university. She spoke calmly about her experience and then described the circumstances that surround child sex slavery.
"They're forced to have abortions in the brothels so that they can be continued to be sold over and over again," Yoon said. "Some girls are sold up to ten times a night. When the girls are taken out of the brothels, they want to commit suicide, even in safe homes."
Vanessa Lin, who helped coordinate the event, explained that her involvement in Love146 at Tufts started when she watched the film "Taken," which chronicles two American girls' abductions into the sex slave trade overseas. The story the film told, though fictional, captured her attention.
"My heart was just gripped. It was more than a cinematic emotional experience, and it wasn't just Hollywood," Lin, a sophomore, said. "I couldn't comprehend the fact that I could have been that girl," she said.
The Tufts Love146 chapter's status as a campus organization is pending official recognition, according to Yoon, making it currently ineligible for Tufts Community Union (TCU) Senate funding. Student organizers covered the costs associated with last night's event.
"Everything is coming out of our own pockets, but we don't mind at all because this is something we really believe in," Yoon told the Daily.
The event's fundraising efforts constituted postcard and t-shirt sales, and the first $350 in proceeds will be diverted to reimburse the student organizers for the costs of organizing the event. The remainder will be donated to the cause of ending child sex trafficking.
Students in attendance emphasized their belief that this organization represents a critical opportunity to address a pertinent issue.
"My mom was a domestic violence lawyer so we talked about these issues a lot, but I never felt like I did anything about it," Jordan Anderson, a freshman, told the Daily. "This organization gave me the opportunity to change that."
The event served not only to raise awareness of child sex trafficking but also to further establish the Tufts chapter of the organization as a fixture on campus.
"I think as a group we're just starting up at Tufts, so I see this as a first contact for people to learn about the issues, the group and Love146 apart from Tufts," Elaine Kim, a junior in charge of design and marketing for the group and an organizer of last night's event, told the Daily.
Yoon further explained the group's mission and its attitude toward raising awareness and generating activism.
"We don't just want people to come and donate a twenty-dollar bill and walk out and not have experienced something for themselves," she told the Daily. "Love146 is about creating an experience for people that come to our events. We want them to feel like they're a part of it and that they're getting something out of giving."
"Our hope is that everyone who comes to our event will have their heart break for these children and that any giving that they do or raising awareness that they do after will be out of compassion," she added.