David Henry shares insight behind efforts to end the trafficking and exploitation of children.Love146 is a nonprofit dedicated to ending child sex trafficking and exploitation around the world through survivor care, prevention education, professional training and grassroots empowerment. Here, MissionBox co-founder and CEO, Kathryn Engelhardt-Cronk talks to David Henry, the US strategic partnerships coordinator for Love146, about their mission to help survivors of trafficking.
What are the programs and services that Love146 provides?
Love146 provides services in two basic areas — prevention and aftercare for victims of trafficking. Prevention and aftercare are the bookends of the rescue. Rescue is what people generally think about the trafficking and exploitation of children: "We need to rescue more kids." But really, rescue is just the beginning of recovery.
It would be great if one day we don't need to keep opening aftercare facilities and aftercare programs, we can simply focus on prevention. It would be a wonderful day if we didn't need to stay in business.
What do you think makes the culture of Love146 special?
I've been with Love146 for almost five years. We have a good retention rate among our staff, which is a good sign, particularly with an issue that's so difficult. This is due to a pretty remarkable internal culture that has kept people around. It’s also due to staying intentional about celebrating victories whether personal or professional.
Ironically, the children and youth we serve teach us about perseverance and resilience. They are a constant reminder to us to be hopeful and continue pushing forward.
I don't think there's one particular formula. I think that you start with caring for people. Our internal message is about people, just like our external message is about the kids we serve, so there's not a disconnect between what we say outside and what we say inside. We try to be really transparent, because it's really dangerous when those two messages don't line up, if we said we care for kids but don't care for ourselves.
Here in our New Haven home office we have a relationship with a massage therapist, and they give all of our staff free acupuncture, massage. We celebrate victories. We acknowledge defeats and figure out how to work around that. We still have to make hard decisions, but we care about each other and we're not competitive with each other. We have a director of employee engagement; someone whose job is to make sure the staff can grow and are on a trajectory that works for them.
I'm in development. I want to see my teammates succeed, and my teammates want to see me succeed. So we care. We invest a lot in the culture of the organization, to make sure that it's a place where people want to stick around and grow. And we try not to pretend like it's not a tough issue. Burnout is a real issue, so incorporating self care is essential if we want to stay engaged and effective.
How big is Love146?
We have staff around the world, in four different locations. We are in the Philippines, United Kingdom and three offices here in the U.S. — New Haven, Charlotte, and Houston.
Anything else that you want our readers to know?
I think there's an issue that everyone deals with, whether they're working in trafficking or clean water or education, whatever they're doing, they get into it because they feel they have something to offer. At the same time, it's important that you continue to stay a learner.
Listen first, then speak. Show some humility. Say thanks — a lot. Be grateful. Invest in your people. Don't be petty. Be a decent human being.
Know another visionary leader or organization working for social good? Let us know! Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In 2002, the co-founders of Love146 traveled to Southeast Asia on an exploratory trip to determine how they could serve in the fight against child sex trafficking. In one experience, a couple of our co-founders were taken undercover with investigators to a brothel where they witnessed children being sold for sex. Love146 has developed both prevention and survivor care programs to help victims of sex trafficking heal and lead full lives. Read about Love146 and the the story that sparked the foundation of this nonprofit.