A Journey to Freedom
Written by Hopestore
Company: Freeset and Liminal NZ | Product: Fair-Trade Clothing & Apparel and NZ Distributor of ethical organic clothing and apparel made in India | Location: Kolkata, India and Christchurch, NZ | Catalysts of change: Kerry & Annie Hilton (Freeset) and Team Liminal
For some of us human trafficking is not a reality that impacts us directly and we take freedom for granted. It seems to be a case of ‘Out of sight, out of mind’. But we’re a global village and injustice eventually affects us all. Freeset and its partners choose to help women who don’t have a choice. They are dedicated to these women, their journey to freedom and the rebuilding of their lives. They employ and train them to sew bags and t-shirts and weave scarfs. They take the whole person into account looking after their health, wellbeing and financial security. They even extend their sense of what is just to their environmental practices. They use organic cotton and recycled Saris and the cotton is dyed using a 100% organic process that doesn’t pollute waterways or harm the environment. The Kolkata Facility uses water-based inks for screen printing, avoiding exposure to harmful petrochemicals and compounds.
Freeset began in Sonagachi, one of Asia’s largest red-light areas with approximately 10,000 sex workers, many of whom were taken from their homes in villages and communities across West Bengal. Freeset opened their doors for business in 2001 together with twenty brave women seizing the opportunity to leave the sex trade behind. A lot of training has gone into upskilling to ensure high quality of products. This is a competitive, self-sustaining business that enables others to break the cycle of poverty and exploitation. Through having a job with Freeset making clothing and apparel these woman now have an opportunity to regain control of their lives within a caring community. And to their friends and neighbours among the thousands still trapped in the sex trade, they are a symbol of hope.
Freeset has also launched Freeset Trust to provide better counseling and care for staff and the community. It is a charitable organization which operates alongside the business providing literacy classes, child care, budgeting and debt management services. Tamar is a project of Freeset Trust, established in response to a growing need to manage the enormous social and health needs of the community. Tamar has a broad vision that reaches beyond the walls of Freeset to offer services to the wider community of sex workers in their neighbourhood in Kolkata and eventually into the villages of Murshidabad.
Today, more than 250 women are on their journey to freedom with Freeset. And they want to see thousands more finding a safe, caring community to call home and help communities ensure their daughters are never trafficked away.
What you can do to help
Find out more at http://www.freesetglobal.com/ and https://liminal.org.nz/
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