February 21, 2017 Ep.168 ~ Sex Trafficking in Thailand and the Girl Working to Stop it ~ Alezandra Russell

“Boys (involved in sex trafficking) are overlooked, and are not part of the global dialogue.” Alezandra Russell Today listeners, we have an incredibly inspirational woman on the show. Her name is Alezandra Russell. Alez, as her friends call her is the founder of a social charity in Thailand that gives males involved with sex trafficking a safe haven. The name of this charity is Urban Light. After a shocking trip to Thailand, Alez saw first hand how young men and boys were being exploited in the sex trade. She had a powerful encounter with one of these boys that changed her life forever. She didn’t know it then, but this was the catalyst that would change her life and the lives of hundreds of boys for years to come. Fast forward seven years and Urban Light has been able to provide support and aid for over 4,000 boys. They give them a place to hang out where they are not judged. They give them a place to eat, a place to play video games, a place to bond with people who understand their circumstances and a place to take care of their health. I got the opportunity to meet Alez and visit Urban Light this past year. What I saw, was a community of young men and boys who were, just normal boys. They laughed, they smiled, they played. Every day all over the world, young men and boys are at risk of becoming involved with sex trafficking and have nowhere to go for help. Alez recognized this and decided to become the light in a very dark space. Everyday she deals with the highs and lows of what these boys go through, and how hard it is for them to escape. Urban Light and Alez, in my opinion, is doing some of the most important work in this world and she does it using her heart to lead the way. “I don’t like to take credit for Urban Light. I truly feel like this was the creation of all of the boys from the Red Light District, telling me everything they needed, and designing it around their needs.” Alezandra Russell 22:20: Where the boys come from 23:35: Who introduces the boys into the sex trafficking lifestyle 27:52: Alez on hiring staff for Urban Light 28:42: The future of Urban Light 31:45: Alez’s suggestions for those that want to start a charitable business from a passion 33:12: Alez on balancing her personal life and running Urban Light Honorable Mentions: LegalZoom https://www.legalzoom.com Richard Beaumont http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0064626/ EqualityNow.org http://www.equalitynow.org/ Contact Info: http://www.urban-light.org/ Donate to Urban Light http://www.urban-light.org/donate-1/ Instagram https://www.instagram.com/urbanlightthailand/ Closing: Hey guys, thanks for listening. We wanted to leave you with a special message about Alez and Urban Light. Urban Light is a full-on charity and is funded from generous people who are inspired by the work that is being done there. According to EqualityNow.org, trafficking women and children for sexual exploitation is the fastest growing criminal enterprise in the world. There are around 20.9 million adults and children being bought and sold worldwide into commercial sexual servitude and forced labor or bonded labor. Unfortunately, there are only a few places to go to escape this trade. Most organizations that help these children are set up to handle females. The number of places for a male involved in sex trafficking is extremely low. That is why it is so important that Urban Light and Alez keep the movement happening. If you felt inspired by Alez’s story and would like to contribute, we have attached a link in the shownotes. Thank you all for your time and attention and go check out what Urban Light is doing. The organization is making extreme strides to make a massive difference in the lives of these children.