I was numb. I had no words, especially because of the language barrier. All I could do was try and communicate as much love and comfort as possible the very few times she would actually look up amidst the fear and shame to let her eyes briefly meet mine. I hoped desperately that she would trust me though in order for her to understand that a portrait of her would mean putting a face to sex trafficking for the many who want to ignore it’s a reality. My name is Andy Brophy and I became a full-time photographer on September 1, 2010. Exactly 70 days later, I found myself standing face to face with this woman enslaved as a sex object in a brothel in India.
Serving As Our Own so quickly after becoming a full time photographer would shape my approach and mission as a photographer, but little did I know that the story had just started. After coming home to share with my wife the highs and lows of walking the streets of a red light district and standing in a brothel, she reminded me of a senior portrait session I had done about a month before leaving for India. Turns out that while I was over in India, that young man’s father was arrested for purchasing a 12-year-old girl for $600 in exchange for sex at a hotel about 2 miles from my house outside of Atlanta, GA. Let those numbers sink in.
12 years old
I was numb all over again. I had just returned from the other side of the world, where many believe is the only place sex trafficking exists, only to find out I had shook the hand of someone who found himself on the other side of the problem just minutes away from home. My first thought was this, “How can I serve an organization half way around the world with my photography and not do something with it here at home?” In the hours that followed talking with my wife, Love Gives Way was born.
Love Gives Way is rallying the wedding community around organizations fighting sex trafficking. As a wedding photographer, I called a few of my wedding packages “Love Gives Way” packages. Every single time I was in a client meeting I was asked, “What does Love Gives Way mean?” It immediately gave me the opportunity to share the story you read above, raise awareness to the issue of sex trafficking abroad and at home, and give my potential client an invitation to immediately be part of the solution. As my blog posts became more and more filled with my Love Gives Way couples, I was asked by other Atlanta vendors on how they could join. After launching a website in January 2013 with a team of 11 wedding vendors in Atlanta supporting Wellspring Living, I began receiving emails from wedding vendors and causes fighting sex trafficking around the world how they could bring Love Gives Way to their city. So, out of my own experiences which led to action, we now have the opportunity to launch new Love Gives Way teams in cities around the world where wedding vendors and their clients can use the wedding day to support causes fighting sex trafficking in their own city.
For more information, please check out our site: www.lovegivesway.com
Love Gives Way is hosting a meet up in Atlanta at Foster on Wednesday April 1st from 6pm-9pm. Come and meet some of our causes, buy a shirt, meet our vendors, and learn more if you are a wedding vendor who would like to participate! Grab your tickets here.
(Photo Credit: OneNine Images)