At the age of 14, Jennifer is an abolitionist for an organization called Love146. Through creativity, song lyrics and a passion for photography, she raises awareness for a cause that is important to her.
Jennifer is a self-taught photographer, born and raised in Tracy. She has been an activist for Love146 for three months, since her friend showed her the group’s Web site. And for the past year, she has used photography as an outlet for creative expression, posting pictures to her Flickr site.
Love146 is an organization based in New Haven, Conn., that aims to rescue children from brothels all over the world and give them a second chance at life.
The organization was started in 2002 when the co-founders traveled to Southeast Asia to see for themselves what happens in brothels.
They went undercover, the Love146 Web site says, “and they witnessed little girls standing behind a wall of glass, each wore a matching red dress with a number pinned to her chest — they were watching children’s cartoons on small television sets. Men were purchasing these girls by the number pinned to her dress. … Their eyes seemed empty, without spark of life, like robots.
“And then there was No. 146. The only one not watching cartoons, she was staring back through the glass with fire and fight left in her eyes — there was still life there. In her eyes, we found our calling. In her number came our name.”
As a way to raise awareness for Love146, Jennifer is posting a new picture to her Flickr photo stream every day for 146 days, most of them containing the Love146 name. With each artistic photo she posts — each tackling a different facet of child trafficking and exploitation — she attaches a caption.
Some are song lyrics, while others she has written herself. Some have inspirational, thought-provoking messages, while others raise awareness. Each, she said, tries to evoke a different emotion.
“I just want people to visit the site, donate and help support it,” Jennifer said.
On her Flickr profile, where she posts all her photos under the name NewYorkEyes, she writes: “I sketch and photograph anything and everything. I find it an easier way to express myself. So let me show you in pictures what I cannot tell you in words.”
People are beginning to take notice, too. In May, Jennifer was recognized on the Love146 Web site for her dedication and creative insight to the organization. She also has more than 200 followers on Flickr, and said she usually gets about 100 hits on each of her photos.
She draws inspiration from other advocates, she said, but sometimes she will just have an idea spark in her mind. Then she goes home and recreates it. All for what she believes is a good cause.
“It’s a subject matter that even most adults are uncomfortable talking about,” her dad, Robert, said. He also said in an e-mail that it’s a “very humble and mature effort in my eyes for a just-turned 14-year-old girl to focus and devote so much attention on something of this nature.”
Jennifer has recruited friends to be part of the movement, too, mostly because she uses them as models at one time or another. She also loves using her backyard as a studio for many of her pictures.
On one of her photos, titled “Stop and Stare,” she writes: “Take a moment, just to understand. Love146.org isn’t just fighting things far away, this stuff happens everywhere. In every country. And in places you wouldn’t imagine. Human trafficking must be stopped, especially in children. They haven’t even begun to see the world.”
• To nominate someone, contact Our Town Editor Justin Lafferty at firstname.lastname@example.org. Meet Jennifer Hamilton
School: West High School
Years in Tracy: Born and raised
For Jennifer’s photos: flickr.com/
For information about Love146: love146.org