A while ago, while reading an online article about modern-day human trafficking and slavery, I clicked on a story-related link. That link opened up another article on the same horrible topic, except that it was one of hope and inspiration ... about an organization, Stop Traffick Fashion, that provides victims and survivors of human trafficking a chance at a new life. STF sells fashion clothing, accessories and jewelry made exclusively by people who have been rescued from forced prostitution, hard labor and other situations created by the turmoil of war and social inequality.
As crafters and artists, it's important to understand how we can relate to the community, world events and issues ... Around the world, human slavery still exists in sweat shops and in factories that take advantage of people with skills similar to our own. We are fortunate to be able to create and sell our own goods ... It's hard work, but for many of us, it is a labour of love and a cherished freedom that we can be creative and benefit from our life's endeavors.
In a society dominated by retailers (several of whom are guilty of distributing mass-produced items made by slave-labor), many of us "independents" have taken on the social responsibility of repurposing clothing and recycling materials. We make a conscious choice to be responsible and socially aware, and that has painted a positive image to the community.
After reading the article, I realized how lucky I was to be in a position where my only real concern was having my ideas stolen by someone else or by a company without any regard to creative rights. Another thing I realized was that slavery and human-trafficking are not confined to third-world or corrupt countries. They exist here in the United States under our noses ... in Canada, Europe, Saudi arabia, China ... and on and on ...
Community awareness ... local and independent businesses, crafters and artisans promoting principles that reflect social responsibility can help stop it. As individuals, we can take the message to the streets. Organizations such as Stop Traffick Fashion take the message to the world .... check them out.
From the Stop Traffick Fashion's website:
You think slavery is over.
But every day, people are bought and sold. Human trafficking is the fastest growing form of international crime and the second largest source of income for organized crime, surpassing even the drug trade. Today 27 million men, women and children are held as slaves in hard labor work, the sex industry, or as soldiers. Survivors are left poor, sick, unskilled and alone, while the slave traders make more money than Google, Nike and Starbucks…….combined.
Stop Traffick Fashion provides opportunities and hope for survivors of human trafficking while offering unique clothing and accessories. People who have been rescued from their captors make almost all of our accessories and receive income from STF sales. In addition, a portion of all sales revenue is donated back to our partner organizations that rescue victims and provide rehabilitation and training.
And the products are top quality! Our handbags, totes, and jewelry compare with pieces in high-end boutiques. Stop Traffick Fashion is rapidly gaining a reputation for high quality and personal service, and we're building a customer base that's both fashion-conscious and socially-conscious.
Millions of people around the world are trafficking victims. But there is hope, and we're making a difference one purchase at a time.
Visit their website & blog at http://stoptraffickfashion.com. Read documented stories and visit their online store.