Slavery is not something we often think exists today, but it is very real in the form of human trafficking. In fact, according to Equality Now, at least 20.9 million adults and children are bought and sold worldwide into labor. Human trafficking exists on many levels and enslaves both men and women, but women and girls are more commonly exposed to sex trafficking.
While human trafficking rates are highest in Asia and Africa, women and girls in our very own country are bought and sold every day to be exploited. California is one of the nation's top four destination states for human trafficking. Further, Los Angeles County is recognized as one of the major hubs for sex trafficking in America.
An issue so widespread and seemingly distant can leave us feeling overwhelmed – like there is nothing we can do ourselves to stop these people from being forced into labor. Though we may lack the resources and power to address the systemic issues of sex trafficking, there are certainly ways we can help.
We can start with awareness. We can educate ourselves and then educate the people around us. We can support the organizations that are fighting the battles at the forefront. We can consume intentionally, buying from brands that are devoted to financially contributing to fighting sex trafficking and supporting survivors’ futures. It’s a small thing, but it’s something.
Badala was founded by Joelle McNamara her senior year of high school to combat poverty in Kenya by providing opportunities to rise above it. Badala’s line of jewelry and accessories was born out of the request that many women made for employment. Since launching, Badala has expanded their employment programs to women and artisans across East Africa, Central America, and domestic sex trafficking survivors.
Bracha was founded out of the desire to make an impact in the world of human trafficking and sex slavery by raising awareness and giving hope and healing to its survivors. 20% of every purchase goes toward the war on human trafficking to support organizations leading the fight like A21 and Refuge City.
3. Starfish Project
Starfish Project cares for women escaping human trafficking and exploitation in Asia by providing shelter, counseling, employment, and education. The Starfish Project’s holistic care program provides women with vocational training, health care, shelter, counseling, and child education grants. Through their social enterprise, they have employed over 100 women to not only craft jewelry, but become managers, accountants, graphic designers, and photographers. They hope to give these women a sense of value and achievement by accomplishing professional, relational, and emotional goals.
4. The Brave Collection
The Brave Collection jewelry is handmade by underprivileged or disabled Cambodian artisans. 10% of their profits are donated to fight human trafficking in Cambodia. The Brave Collection works with partners “on the ground” to support programs that empower Cambodian girls.
5. Her Future Coalition
Her Future Coalition understands that rebuilding lives is an important step in overcoming slavery. Their mission is to provide shelter, education, and high-wage employment to survivors of human trafficking. They sell survivor-made goods to help survivors rejoin society. Survivors that joined their program a few years ago are now managing and mentoring newly rescued survivors!
UNCVRD’s mission? “To bring hope, freedom, and restoration to women and girls living in slavery.” 40% of the proceeds from each sale are donated to their partner non-profit organization, Gems Uncovered, which helps fund street outreach, programming for survivors, preventative measures and more.