Project Love, Mei initially started in 2015 when I first visited Manila. Growing up in Singapore with a very loving family meant that although I was aware of social issues surrounding our comfortable red dot, I had no real exposure to them. My purpose with Love, Mei is to help raise awareness about sex trafficking and child abuse in Southeast Asia through supporting and advocating change for these young women. To date, there are 32 girls receiving an education and supporting themselves through our efforts.
Human Trafficking deals with much more than just sex workers, pimps and flashing neon lights. Beneath that, it’s a multi-billion dollar industry that seeks to exploit and corrupt those living in poverty. According to a study by Ecpat International on the Philippines, an estimated 200,000 children are living on the streets and at risk to child trafficking as a result of poverty. Unfortunately, a severe lack of resources fails to identify more specific information surrounding this community in the Philippines. I can only account for my personal experience where 80% of survivors I’ve worked with are below the age of 16. The youngest member working on our project is 8 years old.
By incorporating this social effort with fashion, I hope to start a conversation with people in my generation and encourage our community to support and engage with our extraordinary little women.
Through sponsoring their education and providing employment to help these girls earn a modest living, they slowly learn to rebuild their lives again. Currently, the eldest in our program is pursuing a Biophysics Undergraduate degree at a local university in the Philippines.
We are not defined by our past but what we put into our future. I hope that through my efforts and the efforts of this community, we can allow these young women to rewrite their own story.
With Love, Rebecca