What does a broken soul look like? In too many instances around the world, it manifests in the form of a young girl or boy, their pain plastered across their faces or buried deep somewhere inside their small bodies, detectable only from the vacant look in their eyes; a look that sets in after being stripped of a childhood.
Love146 seeks to put a stop to that hurt. The international human rights group targets human trafficking, focusing specifically on child sex slavery, and on Saturday, Sept. 25, in Saratoga Spa State Park, a local group will play their part in ending the global nightmare with Ride Run Walk 4 Love, a 15-, 30- and 55-mile bike ride with a 5K walk/run added this year.
A group of people in the Capital Region heard of child sex trafficking through a speaker from Love146 and decided they needed to do something about it, so they started a benefit ride in 2008, said Matthew Miller, national networks coordinator for Love146 and a local pastor.
That first year drew just 60 people and raised around $20,000. Last year's event doubled to 120 people and raised $35,000. This year, there's already more than 200 people registered, said Miller, and because of corporate sponsors, 100 percent of money raised through registration and individual sponsorship will go right to Love146.
Love146 addresses human trafficking in three areas: prevention, rescue and after care.
Prevention happens on a local level, said Miller, through partnerships with various people who creatively arrive at solutions.
"For example, in a part of the world where it would be a normal thing for a child to be sent a long distance to get water, on that trip to and from the well they're at risk of being trafficked. So, we would work with organizations that could drill a well locally so they can gather water and still be supervised," said Miller. "We have a prevention program on the border of Thailand and Cambodia where there are paid border officers who work with national border officers from those countries to identify potential trafficking scenarios and work for intervention."