As of September 28, 2012, Love146 Tufts Chapter was recognized as an official student group by TCU, the Tufts student government. It’s been a long journey since three friends, inspired by the mission of Love146, decided to put together a concert in the spring of 2011. I was a sophomore then, and I’m a senior now. Back then, I was considering a career in international development or humanitarian aid, and hadn’t realized my passion for multimedia storytelling and non-profit branding. One and half years on, it’s amazing to see how much I’ve grown, and how far I have to go.
This is but the beginning. With official student group status, there are organizational challenges to push through. How do we encourage growth in membership, yet retain the intimate, passionate and committed environment that pushed Love146 forward from the start? How do we ensure that the graduation of the senior class will not leave the rest of Love146 lost but with another group of equally, if not more, capable leaders? How do we make sure that every decision we make is intentional, that every event we put on is done with 100% heart, and that the children undergoing sex trafficking will always remain the very foundation of every meeting and activity?
I’ve come to learn that fighting a problem as big as sex trafficking often goes hand in hand with a lot of waiting. The more I learn about sex trafficking, the more I hear the phrase, “it’s so complex.” It’s true; there are no easy solutions, and definitions and contexts are complicated by little circumstantial details. A woman who may say she’s in the business because she wants to be may have had childhood abuse that has affected the way she sees life. A certain policy that works in one country may not work in another. Sometimes traffickers kidnap children, and sometimes families give them away. And despite the immense hard work of organizations around the world, the results aren’t always tangible.
It can be easy to lose sight of the bigger picture, especially when you’re just a tiny student group on a college campus. An activity can turn into yet another scheduled commitment, and a leadership position can be coveted for its impressiveness on a resume. We can put on event after event, and get so caught up in the idea of “fighting injustice on the behalf of these poor children in a developing country” that we forget how these “poor children” are made up of individual children who face a harsh everyday reality that is worth it all – all our planning, all our in-depth discussions, our reading up, and our heart.
I don’t have all the answers, but I do know that I owe it to the many sons, daughters, sisters and brothers who are currently enslaved to give Love146 my 100%, to celebrate the freedom of each child, even while I wait for the day that child sex trafficking finally ends.
For number 146.
Charmaine Poh co-founded Love146 Tufts Chapter at Tufts in Spring 2011. She is a senior studying International Relations and Mass Communications.