Abhishek Basu, a student from India, reflects on the first day of the 2014 SOS Summit.
The atmosphere inside the Lincoln’s Cottage on that 23rd of June was electric. It was as if the ghosts of the soldiers buried all around sensed the excitement of the fifty people gathered from all across the world and wanted to participate in their fight against one of humanity’s greatest enemies—human trafficking.
After some brief introductions, we were shown a powerful presentation that truly captured the magnitude of the problem. Most of us sat enraptured as we were subjected to statistics that were truly alarming. 200,000 children in only America are at risk of being trafficked. Trafficking is one of the largest industries in the world. But what really stirred us all was the account of a trafficking survivor and a short clip of a ‘pimp’ who was unapologetic and seemed to derive some sort of sadistic pleasure in describing the harsh treatment that he subjected his victims to. A deep sense of outrage struck our hearts like never before.
We next proceeded outdoors to do some team building exercises and to just get to know each other. I never knew that rock-paper-scissors could get so competitive! After a hearty lunch which consisted of a Whole Foods turkey sandwich, chips, cookies and a host of other delicacies (I love America!) Callie took us for a tour of Lincoln’s Cottage. We could almost sense the presence of the great man himself. What truly surprised us was hearing some of the incidents of Lincoln’s life. We were struck by his humility, his kindness, his dedication to his country and fellow men and most of all at how good he was at checkers! We almost seemed to bask in the glory of the 16th president of the United States of America.
Our last agenda for the day was a couple of thinking exercises followed by a presentation by our MTV Exit Youth Leaders. The presentation was extremely informative and what ensued was a serious discussion where everyone put forth views and opinions from their individual perspectives. Which caused me to pause and think for a moment that most of us in that room were separated by caste, creed, nationality or religion, but we were all united in our common fight. Our fight for life, for freedom, and for the ideals of the free world. It’s not only our fight. It’s yours too.