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Bags For Freedom is an outlet in New Zealand for goods made by freedom businesses in India.  These businesses provide alternative employment to women who have been trapped in the sex trade, many of them sold or stolen from their villages and forced into prostitution.

Do we still have slavery?

Human trafficking primarily occurs due to extreme poverty. Many people who fall victim to trafficking are trying to escape poverty, improve their lives, and support their families. Often, they are promised a well-paid job, so they borrow money to pay for travel expenses, but when they arrive they find that the job doesn't exist.  Their identity documents are taken and they are forced to work until their debt is paid off.

Trafficked girls and women are exploited in the commercial sex industry they never chose and they face a unique set of challenges - psychological and emotional damage, health issues, and the social stigma of prostitution.  Those who were victims at an early age find themselves without skills or education, making it nearly impossible to re-integrate back into society.  They are trapped by the fear that aren't capable of earning a living any other way.

Find out more at Anti-Slavery International or Child Rescue.

Is there an alternative?

Most of the women trapped in the sex trade come from backgrounds of poverty, each with their own story of trauma and oppression: sold, stolen, trafficked and forced against their will into the sex trade.  But they still have dreams, talents and larger than life personalities.

Freedom businesses exist to offer these women an alternative way to earn a living to support their families.  Providing meaningful employment, training, education, and a community of support, ensures their decision to leave the sex trade is sustainable.  Freedom businesses not only help the woman leave the sex trade, but break the cycle for future generations too.

Find out more at the Freedom Business Alliance.

Can I make a difference?

It’s great when people pause to consider the creators of their shirt, shoes, or handbag.  Everything you’re wearing was made by someone – but did they get paid fairly?  Is their workplace safe?  What are their livelihoods like?  Are they free?

As a consumer, you can make a difference by choosing to purchase from fair trade companies and brands that offer equitable and dignified employment; that don't exploit people to make a profit.  By purchasing products produced by freedom businesses, not only do you support fair trade, but you also support free trade.  You enable these business to continue to employ and grow, creating more jobs to bring freedom to more trapped women.

Also consider donating to organisations who are working to break the poverty cycle, preventing exploitation and trafficking, and giving the next generation choices.

Find out more at World Vision and in the Ethical Fashion Guide.

Bags for Freedom is  a group of volunteers who raises the awareness of these important issues and sells products from freedom businesses, providing an opportunity for Kiwis to make a difference.  All the profits go back to supporting the work of freedom businesses in India.  

Here are some of the freedom businesses we support:

Freeset

Freeset believes every person needs a community to belong to. At Freeset, we live in communities in red-light areas marked by extreme poverty and vulnerability.  We want to see freedom prosper, with every person having a chance to not only feed and clothe themselves but ultimately reach their full potential. Through jobs at Freeset making bags and tees, we work to build new homes and a new community of freedom in Kolkata. 

freesetglobal.com

The Loyal Workshop

The Loyal Workshop was founded to provide an opportunity for freedom.  Modern day slavery is a phenomenon that we are not prepared to be apathetic about.  We believe that another world is possible; a world where sex slavery is relegated to the history books.  It’s a brazen dream but we’re putting it into action in one city, in one red-light community, with one woman at a time.  We believe that business can be a tool to bring freedom to those trapped in slavery.  Every product we create is part of a woman’s freedom journey.

theloyalworkshop.com

Love Calcutta Arts

The scarring influence of the sex trade does not affect just one generation in India. Despairing mothers often leave a legacy of poverty and prostitution to their daughters, who in turn carry on because they know no other lifestyle.
Enter Love Calcutta Arts. Their handicrafts unit enables young women to support themselves with dignity and help their mothers leave the sex industry. 

worldcrafts.org

Contact us to bring our popup store to your event, selling products to support these freedom businesses.  We can also present to your group, raising awareness of these important issues.