3rd Annual National Bra Drive

Three years ago, the Senior Supervising Producer of the CNN Freedom Project asked us if we’d like to join a new movement called #MyFreedomDay. My Freedom Day is a day-long student-driven event to raise awareness of modern slavery. Students from all over the world share about what freedom means to them to engage in the conversation about global human trafficking. You can read more about CNN Freedom Project and #MyFreedomDay here.

We loved the idea of coming together with people all over the globe to celebrate and work towards freedom and truly appreciated seeing your posts about what freedom means to you. We even had some of the women in our program share what freedom means to them, and their answers continue to inspire us.

To coincide with My Freedom Day 2019, we’re doing two things this year!

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NATIONAL BRA DRIVE

First thing is the National Drive. The past two years have been really fun and successful, and we’re excited to do it again!

So mark your calendars for March 14th! We’re holding our third Annual National Bra Drive, and we’d love for you to join in. Of course, your Bra Drive doesn’t have to be on March 14th only - anytime in the month of March is just perfect!

Here are a few ways to be a part:

If you’re an individual:

Donate bras and/or host your own Bra Drive! Gather friends and share about human trafficking and Free The Girls. Have everyone bring a new or gently used bra and send them to us. These bras become inventory for the women in our programs to start their own businesses!

If you’re a business owner:

Host an event or Bra Drive for March! We’ve seen some neat ideas for events from businesses like Title Nines’ Fit Tuesday event to smaller local shops hosting a bra-fitting and wine tasting party which supports Free The Girls. If you need some help with ideas, feel free to reach out! Also, we’d love for you to consider becoming a permanent Bra Drop-off Location! You can read more and apply for that here.

If you’re a student:

Put your influence front and center by hosting a Bra Drive within your friend group, dorm, sorority/club or - go big - and make it campus wide! You could host a “Spring Cleaning Event” or a Clothing Swap/Bra Drive which would all provide a tangible source of income for formerly trafficked women. Click below to learn how to host a bra drive or connect with us with any questions you might have!

If you’re ready to host your bra drive and want to get in touch with us about it (or ask any questions) just fill out the form below and we’ll get back with you quickly!

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Also coming up….

FREEDOM NIGHT!

The second thing we’re doing to coincide with #MyFreedomDay is our first ever FREEDOM NIGHT. Churches and faith-groups across the country will be gathering in an evening to celebrate freedom and pray for survivors and the issues around human trafficking. You can learn more and join in here!

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Also, we’ve got some new t-shirts!!

We’d love for you to check them out. They’re for sale for a limited time through a fundraising platform, and we’d love to see some of you wearing them on March 14th! Read about why we’re being brave and bold by reading here. Don’t forget to share and tag us on social media!




Thank you all for supporting FREEDOM!

Introducing FREEDOM NIGHT!

We’re so excited to introduce A new opportunity:

An opportunity to celebrate freedom and share with your community about human trafficking and restoration!

We believe that despite the grave nature of this issue, there is so much freedom to be found. We believe that God made these women to be powerfully free, and we want to help usher in the hope that comes with freedom from human trafficking and the journey of restoration.


#FreedomNight will launch for the first time this year in churches and communities across the U.S. and will coordinate with #MyFreedomDay which is on Thursday, March 14th, 2019.

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We’d love to see this movement spread and we wanted to create some resources for you to use in your own group/church/community to celebrate Freedom Night.

Feel free to share with your church, faith community, or group, and be sure to let us know that you’re joining in! Just fill out the sign-up form below - we’d love to give you a shout-out and celebrate and pray with you!

When you sign up, you’ll receive an email with all of these RESOURCES:

  • Facebook/Instagram posts

  • Powerpoint presentation / Talking points

  • Worship Set List

  • Spotify playlist

  • Prayer Guide (Family-friendly version)

  • Prayer Guide (Student version)

  • Other ideas

  • a brand new Free The Girls video you can share!


p.s. We’re super excited about our brand new video about our Mozambique program, and we’d love for you to show it to your community to get a good picture of the impact of Free The Girls in the lives of survivors! Just fill out your e-mail address below to let us know you’re hosting an event, and we’ll send you the link to the video!

We can’t wait to hear about your Freedom Night!

Be sure to connect with us on instagram and/or facebook and tag us in your posts #freethegirlsbras #FreedomNight

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p.p.s. We’re also super excited about our t-shirt campaign that just went Live! Get your FTG Brave + Bold shirt and wear them to your freedom night event!


LET US KNOW ABOUT YOUR FREEDOM NIGHT BY FILLING OUT THIS FORM.

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Valentine's Day Ethical Gift Guide

We believe that LOVE should always be celebrated! And with Valentine’s Day coming up, we wanted to share some gift ideas with you that help make an impact and spread the love beyond just one day.

As an organization dedicated to changing the effects of human trafficking and exploitation, we value the practice of spending wisely, and with people in mind. The hard truth about sex trafficking and exploitation is that pimps and traffickers target the vulnerable. As freed men and women, we believe it’s our duty to stand up on behalf of the oppressed and make decisions that impact humanity for the good.

One simple way to do that is to be mindful of where we spend our money. Because while we are an organization dedicated to survivors of sex trafficking, we never forget the millions and millions that are trapped in labor trafficking. Every day there are more and more wonderful brands popping up who are dedicated to providing ethical and fair trade goods for purchase. How great it is to realize that how we spend our money can expand to show love and care for the vulnerable.

This Valentine’s Day, if you’re in the market for a gift, we recommend you check out these ethical brands and gifts. You’ll feel twice as good about your purchase- knowing that you’re spreading love in more ways than one!

SOME OF OUR FAVORITE ETHICAL BRANDS…

Mercy House Global exists to engage, empower and disciple women around the globe in Jesus’ name. Engage those with resources to say yes to the plight of women in poverty. Empower women and teenage mothers around the world through partnerships and sustainable fair trade product development. Disciple women to be lifelong followers of Jesus Christ. We love their Fairtrade Friday subscription boxes! Check them out and surprise your loved one with a gift that keeps on giving.

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Eleventh Candle Co. is a social enterprise in Columbus, Ohio partnering with Legacy to redeem, restore, empower and equip those vulnerable to human trafficking, abuse, exploitation and addiction. A once trafficked woman in Columbus, Ohio is employed while a village in Ethiopia is supported and orphaned children there are welcomed into homes because you purchase our products.

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Thistle Farms is based in Nashville, TN, and is dedicated to helping women survivors recover and heal from prostitution, trafficking, and addiction. We provide a safe place to live, a meaningful job, and a lifelong sisterhood of support because we believe love is the most powerful force in the world.When you support Thistle Farms, you help women survivors heal.

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Able Brand is a lifestyle brand focused on ending generational poverty through providing economic opportunity for women.

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Hon’s Honey : Created and maintained by The Well in Baltimore, Maryland, Hon’s Honey is a social enterprise dedicated to giving dignity and purpose to women survivors of addiction, sex trafficking, generational poverty, and trauma. All products are made by an empowered community of women — each one committed to transforming their lives and embracing the next woman who walks through the door.

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And if you’re looking for something lacey, be sure to check out Elma Lingerie.

Elma has designed a beautiful bralette in which a portion of sales supports to Free The Girls!

Other gift ideas:

Chocolate, coffee, and more…

What are your favorite ethical brands? We’d love to know! Share this post and tag us along with your ideas.

Have a lovely Valentine’s Day!

The Re-traumatizing Nature of Compulsive Curiosity by CCHAT

We recently read this article by the Community Coalition Against Human Trafficking and wanted to share. It’s really important to acknowledge as we as advocates stand with survivors. Please take read and let us know what you think.


The Re-traumatizing Nature of Compulsive Curiosity

Compulsive Curiosity aka Trauma Porn.

It’s a harsh phrase. It probably makes you wince a little bit. Maybe you even don’t want to read the rest of this post because you wonder what you’ll find. And maybe it doesn’t apply to you. Or if it does, maybe you didn’t know. I certainly didn’t.

It starts small, slowing down on the interstate to look at a car accident. It’s curiosity mostly, wondering what happened, trying to figure out who is injured, taking a guess at who was most at fault in the situation. It’s usually accompanied by a whisper of gratitude for not having been in an accident oneself, before speeding up past the traffic and moving on.

Then there’s a mass shooting on the news. You see the replays over and over again, on TV, on Facebook. You hear people talking about it at work, at your kids’ little league games, even while you’re waiting in line at Starbucks. Curiosity strikes again, and you’re searching the internet for more information, more 911 calls, more details about the victims’ last moments.

Then before you know it, you hear a story about a refugee fleeing a war zone, an abused child in foster care, or perhaps even a victim of human trafficking. You don’t notice at first, but your interest is piqued and you can’t help but wonder about the details of the experience.

Welcome to Trauma Porn, defined by a voyeuristic desire to be a spectator to traumatic events and/or stories. This phenomenon is widely encouraged by our media, the 24-hour news cycle, and rapid and unfiltered access to the internet. We are inundated with trauma, so it only makes sense that our insatiable need to know would generate unhealthy practices.

Our responses to trauma can be triggers from past trauma we ourselves have endured; avoidance, because it’s just too painful to deal with; or immersion as a way of bathing ourselves in the trauma to avoid action. Many times our exposure to trauma in media is at its core a basic drive to be the judge and jury in the situation, determining who was “right” or “wrong.”

This mentality is damaging to us. It stifles our ability to empathize and advocate for survivors of trauma because our focus is on the particulars of the event rather than a strengths-based narrative that might enable survivors to begin to grieve and move forward. Best case scenario, trauma porn causes us to be only desensitized to the seriousness of violence and trauma. Worst case scenario, we inflict serious damage on others.

This mentality is devastating to a survivor of trauma. Imagine you are a person who has endured countless horrors, being sold 40 times a day, experiencing mental, sexual, and physical abuses day in and day out for years. Now imagine people only want to be your friend so they can hear your story, so you can relive your trauma for them. Do you feel how dismissive, belittling, and even traumatizing that would be?

I get it. We don’t mean to do it. We’re naturally curious as humans. But we have a responsibility to stop the violence of trauma porn. Jean Baudrillard, a French postmodern philosopher, warned in his book Simulation & Simulacra that our media would create our future reality rather than reflect what has already happened. The danger of engaging in trauma porn is, according to Baudrillard, that we perpetuate the cycle of trauma in our world.

Our compassion and empathy depend on releasing our curiosity for details in exchange for sincere, kind relationships built on trust and acceptance. Becoming comfortable with not knowing is a challenge in a world where we respond to conversations with “I need to Google that.” But letting go of the minutiae is important if we hope to be of help to others. And really, building a kinder, more compassionate, free world is what we all truly desire.

 This post was written by Amanda Arwe. Amanda is currently an intern with CCAHT studying social work at the University of Tennessee. You can read all about Amanda here

To see the original post, go here.

Human Trafficking Awareness : What you CAN do.

January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month, and for some of us the truth of this issue may be common knowledge. To others, even today, the reality of human trafficking still comes as a shock. 

Regardless of our familiarity with the issue, to be confronted with the statistics is overwhelming to all of us: 

40.3 million people living in slavery today**.

29+ million of those being women and girls. 

403,000 people in the US alone.

The average age of entry into forced prostitution worldwide is under 17 years old.

The complex trauma related to human trafficking and exploitation is very difficult to overcome.

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These daunting facts can stun us and keep us complacent, static, or frozen- too overwhelmed to do anything. We may ask, “How can I impact such a BIG problem? Is it even possible?”

The truth is WE CAN make a difference. 

YOUR VOICE MATTERS. 

Your actions matter, and your choices matter. 

This is really good news in the face of one of the most horrible realities in human history.

We at Free The Girls love the fact that we get to invite you into the work of supporting survivors of human trafficking in real, tangible ways. With our unique model, we are seeing women regain independence, empowerment, and hope. 

In honor of Human Trafficking Awareness Month, we’d like to invite you to join our Export Freedom Project. As we’re getting ready to send a huge shipment of bras to the continent of Africa, you can join in and follow the boxes of inventory - from our warehouse in Indiana, across the ocean into the hands of survivors in Mozambique! There are many steps in the process of getting your donated bras into the hands of women. Once they receive them, each woman will sustain her business with those bras! 

And the most beautiful part? 

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Not only is she creating a business, she’s creating a life - a life of freedom and hope. 

As we think about the journey of a bra… we can’t help but think about the journey of survivors of sex trafficking. It’s a journey from horrific trauma and oppression to reintegrating into the life they were meant to live - within their own family and community. The dividends of your impact are realized not only in women victoriously leading and providing for themselves, but also for generations to come. 

Through holistic reintegration programming and the economic opportunity to earn a safe income- we’re seeing survivors free to be restored to who they were designed to be- 

WHOLE,
WORTHY,
POWERFULLY FREE.

In order to join our Export Freedom Project, we’re inviting you to create your own Facebook fundraiser* for Free The Girls and invite your community to join in. We’re asking each person to set a goal of $200 -and when you reach your goal of $200, you’ll be added to our insider group of Export Freedom Partners! In this private Facebook group, you’ll be getting exclusive updates, photos, and information about our Mozambique program and the women in it. 

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By joining the Export Freedom Project, you can literally SEE your impact. And not only will you be inspired by the difference your impact can make, but you’ll be able to share the inspiration and impact with your friends and family who have joined you in your fundraiser. 

This opportunity is an exciting way to move from paralysis or being slightly engaged in this issue to making a tangible impact and to SEE results. YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

*If you don’t have Facebook, don’t worry! You can still join in! Here’s another way you can participate. Once you start your fundraiser, just send us an email and us know you want to join EXPORT FREEDOM!

THANK YOU.

Thank you for taking a stand. Thank you for caring.

Thank you for choosing to make a mark on this issue of human trafficking.

IT MATTERS.

**https://www.ilo.org/global/topics/forced-labour/lang--en/index.htm