The Importance of a Thoughtful Purchase.
We're so inspired by people, organizations, and companies around the globe who make it possible for purchases to make a true impact on lives of survivors of human trafficking, exploitation, and vulnerable populations.
This time of year brings joy and excitement for many. But sadly, the truth remains that millions of people around the world are experiencing forced labor, and many children are included in that multitude. Below are a few heart-breaking facts:
- Globally, the International Labor Organization estimates that there are 14.2 million people trapped in forced labor in industries including agriculture, construction, domestic work and manufacturing.
- The International Labour Organization estimates that there are 20.9 million victims of human trafficking globally:
68% of them are trapped in forced labor
26% of them are children.
55% are women and girls.
- The U.S. Department of Labor has identified 136 goods from 74 countries made by forced and child labor.
(via Polaris Project).
But there is HOPE.
This time of year, many of us are buying gifts for others (any maybe a few for ourselves?!), so we wanted to create this guide to help you make purchases that change lives. As Black Friday and Cyber Monday approach, would you consider before you buy? Consider how your purchases affect real people. Consider how you might double the joy this season by purchasing from an ethical or fair-trade company or one that supports and empowers women here in North America or in other parts of the world, a purchase that you can trace back to the actual person on the other side of the product.
Listed below are just a few brands that we love. (FYI- this is not a sponsored post- just our humble opinion on some beautiful brands out there!)
Freedom and Grace - Beautiful, handmade rustic signs that are giving back! Each purchase supports survivors of human trafficking directly or ministries and organizations that are working with victims and survivors of human trafficking. Several members of our staff or board of directors have a custom-designed piece hanging on their walls from this great shop!
Solly Baby Wrap - Know someone having a baby soon or who is already snuggling their little one? The fabric on these are so soft and the color and patterns available make these wraps not just functional but so fun! Solly Baby is now a key part of the FTG family - Selah, our Operations Manager, gifted our Executive Director, Courtney, with one earlier this year. Chances are, that email you received from Courtney was written while she was wearing her daughter Amelia in it!
Gathre - Another product created by mamas with young children at home (which we just love!). Gathre has a wide range of mats made from bonded leather that are easy to wipe clean and pretty resistant to stains. Perfect for a baby changing mat to a huge picnic mat and everything in between! We can't begin to describe how amazing they feel and how much they make life easier! Plus, they generously donated two mats for this year's BRAlapalooza gala!
cuddle + kind - Talk about impact for your purchase! Not only are these adorable dolls handmade by women in Peru to provide a sustainable wage, for every doll sold this company provides 10 meals to a child in the U.S. or Canada! And they're just darling!
Fair Trade Friday - Subscription boxes are all the rage these days, and this one is decidedly one of our favorites on the market! Everything in their shop is made from ethical programs in over 25 countries including maternity programs in Kenya. They offer a variety of subscriptions including Earrings of the Month or Girl Boss Box of the Month, but even if you are unable to commit to a monthly subscription, they have a range of products in their shop, Mercy House Global. Their Christmas collection is currently available for purchase and is giving us all the heart-eyes.
Imani Collective - 59 women and 140 children in Mombasa, Kenya are directly impacted when you purchase through Imani Collective. This organization employs women and helps put their children through school, helping to break generational poverty (and you know we are all about that!). Everything from a Mama Llama plush toy to gorgeous handwoven rugs, you can find a perfect house-warming gift for friends who love style and ethical purchasing.
Yobel Market - Gorgeous leather bags, stunning jewelry, cozy sari blankets - basically, we think you should buy all your stocking stuffers from here! (In fact, one of our staff members bought her actual stocking from Yobel last year.) Need more of a reason to check them out? On their website, they boldly state that one of their core beliefs is that "we are called to pay the worker their wages and break loose the yoke of oppression."
Mission to El Salvador cards - This one is especially near and dear to our hearts. MTES is our program partner in El Salvador. Yes, the women in our FTG program come from MTES so purchasing these incredibly intricate handmade cards helps provide other services for the FTG ES women. Each card is created by someone in addictions recovery, someone transitioning from homelessness, or a survivor of human trafficking. And let's face it - these are so much more personal and exquisite than a department store holiday card!
kushi-riki - For those needing to buy gifts for children who love adventuring in a winter wonderland! kushi-riki sells exceptional gloves, mittens, and beanies for children and then gives 100% of their profits to organizations serving vulnerable children across the world. Give to a child and help a child. Truly, you can't get much better than that!
Eleventh Candle Co - Who doesn't love candles? They're cozy, fill your home with amazing scents, and provide an atmosphere perfect for Advent or Christmas. But what makes these candles our favorite? Because, once again, when you purchase, your impact is doubled. "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." One of our staff members told us about this company in our staff meeting this past week, and we're all kinds of obsessed now.
We realize there are so many incredible organizations around the world selling beautiful products that have been ethically sourced. We'd love to hear from you on what some of your favorite ethical or fair-trade companies are! Tell us on social media and tag us @freethegirlsbras!
For more resources and information, you can check out the following links: