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Sherri Rosen Publicity Intl, NYC-Guest Blogger-Kaelee Dooley Shepherd

A 22 Year Old Takes Action Against Sex Trafficking!

It is the year 2010 and my 18th birthday is approaching, my “coming of age”. I am reflecting on my life over the last 17 years and can’t help but to be thankful and feel blessed for all I have been able to accomplish thanks to all those who have been present throughout my life.

It is a normal afternoon during my senior year of high school. I am on the computer, watching different YouTube videos. One video in particular catches my eye. I click on it. It belongs to an organization called Love146. Child sex trafficking. I sit at my computer desk in horror as I am told the story of how Love146 came about. I am given statistics, stories, and accounts of children being sold for sex. I don’t understand. Modern-day slavery? Slavery? Is this a joke? Slavery has been ebolished; slavery is something of the past. What is happening? Why haven’t I heard about this before now? Does anyone else know?

It is summer of 2010. I’m living in Wildwood, NJ with a few of my best friends. I’ve vigorously researched the subject of human trafficking. I’m constantly learning more about the atrocities being committed around the world and those who are putting up a fight for the cause. I decide to host a fundrasier in my backyard to raise some money for Love146. Friends come over to support the cause. We raise significant funds by coming together to eat, dance, and be happy in one another’s company.

It is September of 2010. I’m a new college student on Drexel University’s campus in Philadelphia, PA. I’m majoring in International area studies with a concentration in justice and human rights. I’m taking classes with inspiring, passionate, driven, like-minded students. My good friend Ash & I want to do something on campus; we want to take action. Do we start a women’s group on campus to shed light on female global inequality? No, that is too broad, we think. No one will join.

It is the summer of 2011. I am in Guatemala studying Spanish and immersing myself in the beauty of the country for 3 weeks. I have just been picked up from the bus terminal by my host mother and brothers. We are stopped at a red light. A little girl, no older than 6 or 7 years old, walks up to my rolled-down windom. She is dressed in a pink clown costume, her face is painted white and has traces of dirt all over herself. She is tired, worn out. She blankly stares through me. She begins to juggle. Once she is done, she holds out her hand, waiting for money. I’m stuck, numb. This is a sign- she could not possibly be doing this on her own will. I quickly scan the area around the car. Are there any older figures who seem to be watching her? All I can see are more children doing the same exact thing. My host mother softly says to her, “Lo siento, chica. No tengo dinero”- “I’m sorry, little girl. I don’t have any money.” I want to help her. How? Something needs to be done. We drive away.

It is my 3rd year of college and I have just returned from a 4 month study abroad trip to Costa Rica. I am put in contact with a professor who, through email exchange, I find out runs the Office of Human Trafficking on campus. I’m intrigued. Something like this exists? How can I get involved? We decide to meet up and we instantly click! The professor, Dr. Sabella, and I decide we will make a group on campus dedicated to combating modern-day slavery, human trafficking, happen.

It is my 4th year of college and I connect with three friends about the idea of starting a group on campus. With everyone ready to make this vision a reality, we complete and hand in the paperwork for recognition. We wait. With a lot of hard work, passion, and paperwork behind us, Dr. Sabella, Selah, Lexi, Anna, and I finally receive notice, about 6 months later, that our proposed student organization has been approved! Students Advocating Against Slavery (SAAS) is an officially recognized student organization on campus! We are ecstatic!

It is now 2014 and my 5th year of college. A lot has happened over the last 5 years and it is crazy to think how fast time has flown by. SAAS has become well-known on campus through featuring a number of different high-profile events and outreach activities. We have officially partnered up with a domestic and an international organization with which we are buidling sustainable relationships. We have so much more to do and the fight is never over, but we are so proud of how far we have come thus far. Human Trafficking, in all it’s forms, is a horrendous crime that wipes people of their dignity and personhood. As members of the human race, it is our responsibility to lend out a helping hand, in whatever way we can, in unity with our sisters and brothers around the world, to make this world we live in a better place.

In Solidarity,

Kaelee Shepherd

A bit about Kaelee:

My name is Kaelee Shepherd and I am a Northeast Philadelphia native who currently attends school and resides in University City, Pennsylvania. With a passion for social justice and community development,, I enjoy involving myself with a variety of issues across the community such as poverty, health access, and language barriers. My dream is to work for USAID or the UN, in the hope to using my passions and skills to engage myself in the global community that is working towards a better tomorrow for all. I will be graduating with my B.A. in International Area Studies in June of 2015 and plan to pursue graduate school and a career in the field of public health, specifically within the realm of Humanitarian Emergency Relief. My favorite things include watching documentaries, traveling, drinking tea, meeting new people, discovering new music, and spending time with those I love.

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This entry was posted on Monday, November 17th, 2014 at 3:41 am and is filed under Clients, Friends and Colleagues. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

2 Responses to “Sherri Rosen Publicity Intl, NYC-Guest Blogger-Kaelee Dooley Shepherd”

  1. joan whitacre Says:

    Dear Kaelee,

    I am so impressed that you have followed your vision from idea to reality. That you had the courage and persistence, learned from each situation you were in, and then the right time appeared.
    If I were in the Philadelphia area, I would love to come and visit your group, even offer some training if there was interest. However, I’m up in the NYC area.
    Pacifying the mind that sees violence as the only way, that even revels in violence, especially against those made helpless, which mostly applies to women and children – this is the major task of our time. Thank you for moving forward.

    love to you and your friends,


  2. Kaelee Says:

    Dear Joan,

    Thank you so much for your kind, encouraging words. I, along with SAAS as a whole, would love to be in contact with you. Do you have an email address to which I could send a message?

    “This is the major task of our time. Thank you for moving forward.” I whole-heartedly agree with you that this is truly the major task of our time. We must keep progressing.

    Love to you and yours!

    In solidarity,
    Kaelee 🙂

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