Many women who want to leave the sex industry or who are rescued away from sex traffickers need to start making money right away. These women often have children depending on them or they need to move away from abusers.
Well-paid, dignified jobs are instrumental in keeping women out of the sex trafficking industry. The Made By Survivors project gives fair-paying jobs to women around the world as they are making new lives for themselves. The project describes itself as an “economic alternative to slavery and exploitation for women and youth at high risk for being trafficked.”
Made By Survivors is part of The Emancipation Network (TEN)’s work to care for women escaping the industry and to prevent many more from ending up in exploitation. Through Made By Survivors, women are taught to make jewelry, handbags, and rugs. The women are paid fair wages and become artisans or business-owners. The goods are sold regionally and on the Made By Survivor’s website.
Meet Rekha, a mother from India. Her entire family was recently freed from slavery in a quarry. She explains why new work is an important option for women: “We want the best for our children – to go to school rather than to work. And for ourselves, only the chance to choose our work, and to be paid for it, to care for our families and to help others.”
Women, through 18 anti-slavery organizations around the world, including Thailand, Cambodia, Nepal, India, Ukraine, Uganda, the Philippines, Tanzania, and the United States, learn artistic and business skills through Made By Survivors‘ programs. The women and programs are paid 100% upfront for the products, not a portion of sales later.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called out sexual slavery in newspapers across the U.S. last month saying, “I have seen firsthand the suffering that human trafficking causes… This is a violation of our fundamental belief that all people everywhere deserve to live free, work with dignity, and pursue their dreams.”
Sex trafficking also happens in the U.S. It is both about girls smuggled in and large numbers of young citizens sexually exploited on U.S. soil. Made By Survivors works with girls in New York City’s Girls Education and Mentoring (GEMS)’s programs to educate, job-train, and care for girls who have been sex trafficked in the U.S.
The beautiful pearl necklaces, carefully beaded cuff bracelets, turquoise sets, hand-sewn handbags, silk wallets, handwoven scarves, and colorful rugs make eye-catching holiday gifts. Purchasing them also keeps former sex trafficking victims learning and working in the U.S. and around the world.
Consider purchasing a holiday gift from Made By Survivors!
Photo by guillenperez on Flickr