Over the last few years there have been a host of charitable organisations started with the aim of engaging with the issue of human trafficking. These range from charities which focus on advocacy through to the care of those affected. It would seem that we have never had more interest in this subject. In the midst of the interest though, we do need to stop and ask how sustainable change can be created.
It is safe to say we welcome the rise of interest in human trafficking and sexual exploitation and are glad for increased awareness and action. We do have some cautions however as misinformation can easily be spread and we are now in a world where sound-bites can rule.
Since 2005, we have worked in the UK to develop a route to market for products that are made by women who have been exploited through trafficking and prostitution. We operate as a social enterprise with 100% of profits going to empower more women to make choices to escape, and our manufacturing partners all employ women who either were previously trapped in prostitution or were at severe risk of being exploited. Together with these partners we have been looking at a business solution to trafficking rather than a purely charitable one. This enables long term solutions rather than a quick fix
Whilst there are many great charitable outcomes, there is a danger of the beneficiary being the passive recipient of those who give. With language such as ‘victim’ and ‘rescue’ there is a danger that this is enforced further and the individual affected never becomes an agent of their own freedom. The power that was held by the trafficker is unintentionally passed on to the organisation or authorities rather than to the women herself. With social enterprise however, the tables are turned and the focus is on the individual being empowered to make choices for their own freedom. The training and employment opportunities enable sustainable change and the empowerment of a woman to be the agent of her own destiny.
As a social enterprise, we are glad to see the list of our manufacturing partners growing and being able to make more products available to our customers. We now have new jewellery available from Thai Song and a Freedom Stones project in Ghana along with several new Freeset Bags. We’ve just had a large order leave India from Sari Bari, Destiny Reflection and Love Calcutta Arts along with the new range of Freeset Bags and T-Shirts. If you want to play a part in creating this sustainable change and freedom, do keep checking our site and remember the women we work with when you do your shopping.
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