LACONIA — Rob Morris, the president and co-founder of Love146, an international nonprofit organization working to combat child trafficking and exploitation, will be speaking in the Lakes Region on Sunday.
Morris will be speaking at the Lakes Region Vineyard Church – Lakeport, 176 Mechanic Street, on Sunday, May 25, at both the 8:30 and 10:30 a.m. services. Contemporary worship music and a coffee break are part of each meeting. For information, call 527-2662
People wanting to support the work are invited to take part in a "Put Your Foot Down To End Child Trafficking" benefit hike up Mount Major Sunday, from 7 a.m. – 5 p.m.
A suggested donation of $25 per family is requested, then participants can take the short hike up Mount Major.
In 2002, Morris was among a group of four young people who traveled to Southeast Asia to learn about child sex trafficking. As part of an undercover operation, investigators took him and some other group members into a brothel where young girls were being sold for sex.
"We found ourselves standing shoulder-to-shoulder with predators in a small room, looking at little girls through a pane of glass," Morris recalled. "All of the girls wore red dresses with a number pinned to their dress for identification. They sat, blankly watching cartoons on TV. They were vacant, shells of what a child should be. There was no light in their eyes, no life left... These children... raped each night... seven, 10, 15 times every night... They were so young. Thirteen, eleven years old... It was hard to tell. Sorrow covered their faces with nothingness.
"Except one girl. One girl who wouldn't watch the cartoons. Her number was 146. She was looking beyond the glass. She was staring at us with a piercing gaze. There was still fight left in her eyes. There was still life left in this girl," he explained.
Some time later, the brothel was raided and shut down, and the children rescued. But #146 was no among them, Morris reported.
"We don't know what happened to her but we will never forget here," he said. "She changed the course of all of our lives... This is the story that sparked our abolition movement."