I was pulling into the parking lot of Chipotle, planning to run in, grab lunch, and hurry back to my office, when I became transfixed with what I was hearing on the radio. A New York Times reporter was being interviewed on NPR about the global sex slave trade; something that I had no idea existed. I truly couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Stories of kids as young as four who had been kidnapped or sold into slavery, horribly abused and used to satisfy the sick needs of warped individuals. And this wasn’t the work of a few disturbed people. This was being done on a massive scale, as organized crime.
I was truly overwhelmed. I couldn’t process what I was hearing and I shut off the radio. I then sat immobilized for a minute or so, staring at my dashboard with tears running down my face. And then I realized that turning off the radio was easy and cowardly; this wasn’t something that I could conveniently ignore. I turned it back on and listened to the rest of the interview.
However, while I’d been deeply impacted by this story, I soon let the daily demands on my life crowd out the emotions that I’d felt. While I couldn’t forget what I’d heard, I didn’t do anything with what I’d learned. I wasn’t sure what I could do in any event, and I can’t say that I was at all proactive in identifying how to help.
A year or so went by, and fortunately, I was presented with a chance to reacquaint myself with the problem and a concrete way to fight for these kids – I was introduced to Brad Riley. Whether coincidence or fate, that chance meeting was just what I needed to engage with this issue. I was struck by the unbelievable dedication, passion and energy that Brad brought to combating the exploitation of children.
After some time passed and I grew more familiar with both Brad and iEmpathize, I was honored with an invitation to join the Board of Directors. It’s been deeply gratifying to be a part of this organization and to be associated with such fantastic individuals. Brad and his team work tirelessly to effect positive change for kids around the globe, and I can’t overstate just how impressed I’ve been with how much they accomplish with so little financial support. Hopefully in the years to come we can change that, and I look forward to seeing what this group can do when they are truly unleashed.
Thanks for taking the time to get to know this organization and for educating yourself about this issue. Please help to keep IE moving forward by supporting this fine organization.