When business meets social cause

As a young business Steve and I have purposed to build a business that will have positive impact on others as well as ourselves.  We have loved the idea of partnering with other artists on various projects, such as the pottery folks with their rich gift of talented hands and artful colored bowls that we have been pairing with the shave soap and shave brushes.  By making purchases from them we are supporting local, and helping to build their businesses as we build ours too.

We have been reading, and learning about the epidemic problem of Human Trafficing world wide, and want to do our part to make the problem known, and help with the fight against this hideous injustice of man to man (or more likely man to woman).

FACTS ON SLAVERY

1. More people are in slavery today than at the height of the Atlantic (Kevin Bales; Free the Slaves)

2. Human trafficking is the fastest growing criminal industry in the world (United States Department of Health and Human Resources)

3. Human trafficking is the world’s 2nd largest criminal enterprise behind narcotics  (U.S. State Department).

4. There are 12.3 million adults and children in forced labor, bonded labor, and forced prostitution around the world (Trafficking in Persons Report, 2010).

5. Approximately 80% of human trafficking victims are women and girls… up to 50% are minors  (U.S. State Department).

6. Child trafficking is an over $12 billion a year global industry, with over 2 million child victims (UNICEF).

7. The average age of entry for children victimized by the sex trade industry is 13 years old.  (U.S. Department of Justice).

8. There are nearly 300,000 children at risk every year  for commercial sexual exploitation (U.S. Department of Justice).

9. It has been estimated that 100,000 minors are in the commercial sex trade in the United States alone (Polaris Project).

10. By age 16, approximately 60% of Nepalese girls in the brothels in Mumbai have contracted HIV (K.I.NEPAL).

We answered the call by partnering with the Red Thread Movement to sell their Bracelets.  We want to get the word out about this horrific and devistating phenomenon worldwide.  The Red Thread Movement is an endeavor to help women out of slavery, provide them with the physical, emotional, spiritual and financial means to recover, and in fact to thrive in a new life.  The simple purchase of a red thread bracelet for $3.00  buys the women clothing, provide housing, teach them a trade,and assist with obtaining the tools needed for that trade.  We keep nothing, and all of the funds are turned over to the organization.  The work of red  thread is focused on Nepal.  Why Nepal?  Why support a work that is far from our shores?  Here are some facts about the problem and the need:

The border that runs between Nepal and India claims nearly 12,000 victims of sex trafficking every year.

The human trafficking industry, which is the world’s second largest criminal enterprise, is gaining momentum worldwide. It is a problem that is incredibly prevalent in Nepal, where women’s low status, insufficient education and raw beauty make them vulnerable targets for traffickers.

The east-west highway in Nepal is 1026 km long; it has 15 legal crossings and the border is open, so visas and passports are not required to get into India.

Since sex trafficking is almost impossible to trace once the victimized girls pass over the borders of their countries, it is important to establish border surveillance units that monitor the movement of traffickers between countries.

Our meager $3 per bracelet sales are impacting a lot of women, and a culture that does not value their women.  One bracelet at a time we are telling the world that the women of Nepal are valuable, precious, and deserve the right to dignity, freedom, and respect.

Social justice, fighting for a cause beyond our own, and speaking up for those who have no voice is important.  These little acts of kindness bring a dignified response to oppressive injustice.  And the red thread bracelets are a conversation piece…

Another partnership we were fortunate to be involved in last year, and have been invited back is the Kaumba Project.  Several families in Aurora Ohio have a desire to see clean drinking water in Kenya.  Their desire has become a driving passion to hold an annual boutique and the benefits of this endeavor provide the funds to dig a new well, and provide the equipment to keep it going.  If you love unique boutiques with a purpose you will want to stop out and see this one.  More details as we get closer to the date.

So you know my heart…. I want to not just be an artist, but have an impact on the world in some way or form.  Whether it is for the liberation of a woman i will never meet, or water to improve the quality of life for a village, we can change the world.


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