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STF on OneSimpleAsk.com
STF was recently featured on OneSimpleAsk.com. From their website:
Every edition of the One Simple Ask blog revolves around a theme. Our current focus: the eco-friendly lifestyle. We’re examining how the production and consumption of clothing, personal care items, cosmetics, and other everyday goods and services fit into the local, national, and global marketplaces. We ask: What does a more ethical marketplace look like – and how do we get there?
I was excited to learn about their blog because I think it’s a great resource for everyday abolitionists since a huge component of the abolitionist movement is ethical consumerism. I encourage you to subscribe to their blog for future information. In the mean time, here is their story about Stop Traffick Fashion!
Slavery is not a relic of the past. It continues to cripple us in the 21st century. The U.N. has reported that approximately 2.5 million people from 127 different countries have been trafficked for purposes such as forced labor and sexual exploitation. After a revelatory trip to Thailand as a college student, Emily Hill was inspired to fight human trafficking while pursuing her passion for fashion, founding the website Stop Traffick Fashion in 2009. STF sells products made by former slaves who are given fair wages and treatment, directly addressing trafficking by combining ethical consumerism with the movement to abolish slavery. I spoke with Emily earlier this week.
What inspired you to found STF?
I first found out about human trafficking during a college trip to Thailand. We were working with an orphanage and teaching English. One weekend we visited a home for girls ages 9-18 who lived in the poor hill tribe villages, where it is common for traffickers to go in and buy them or lure them with the false prospect of employment. Interacting with those sweet girls changed my life. I knew that I had to do something.
I educated myself about numerous organizations that provide rehabilitation and job skills training for victims of trafficking—and they create some really great products. My goal in starting STF was to bring the most fashionable products together and to market them to socially conscious consumers. In doing so, we are expanding the market for these products to help provide more opportunities and support for survivors of trafficking, and to be another voice raising awareness about this issue.
How does STF fit in the fair trade marketplace?
All the workers who make our products are paid fair wages and work in supportive environments. They work a reasonable number of hours, with breaks throughout the day and days off during the week. They have access to the healthcare and childcare. Each of the organizations we buy from also maintains strict safety standards that often go above and beyond the safety requirements of the country where they’re located.
Our products are part of a vital step in the rehabilitation of women rescued from trafficking, who are given job skills training to help them earn a sustainable income and support their families. The work they do changes their lives, smoothing a path for generations to come. By purchasing fair trade products, you can be sure that what you’re buying isn’t touched by supply-chain slavery. Workers who are paid a fair wage are not vulnerable to trafficking or other forms of exploitation.
STF donates a portion of all sales revenue to partner organizations that rescue victims and provide rehabilitation and training. Can you talk about the partner organizations that STF works with?
We buy products from reputable organizations that provide aftercare and real job opportunities for survivors, not just charity. All the organizations we buy from are well known in the anti-trafficking industry, and I have visited one personally (StopStart) and others from STF have visited another (Freeset). You can read example stories about the women who work with them on our Stories page.
Do you have a story that comes to mind?
In general, I love the stories from Freeset because you can clearly see the impact they have and how your purchase effects change. The women who work at Freeset come from the red light district of Kolkata and were trafficked there or trapped by poverty, never knowing any other opportunities. When they learn about Freeset and come to work there, they tell their friends about the new life and new opportunities, and their friends in turn want to work at Freeset. In addition to a fair wage, the women are given healthcare, a pension, literacy training, child care, and an opportunity to participate in Bible studies.
Does STF also donate to or get involved with causes and nonprofits?
Purchasing products from STF has a direct impact on survivors because they are all paid a fair wage. Empowering women to create a sustainable income so they can support themselves and be fully reintegrated back into society has a more comprehensive, long-term impact than cause marketing and donations. However, STF also donates a portion of revenue to anti-trafficking organizations. In the last two years, we have donated funds to the Freeset Trust, Restavek Freedom, International Justice Mission, and Hagar International.
How can people learn more about modern-day slavery and get involved with fighting trafficking?
There are so many great resources on the internet! To start, check out STF’s blog, where we post news from around the world and from different organizations we work with, as well as STF news and information. Our theme this year is “Everyday Abolitionist,” and our goal is to inspire everyone to find the small things that they can do to be a part of the movement. We don’t all have to be full-time workers in the field, but everyone has unique skills and interests that they can put to use. Some other websites I would check out are Polaris Project, International Justice Mission, Free The Slaves, DNA Foundation, and Hagar International.
Those beads in your picture are neat! Where’d ya get ‘em?
These recycled glass beads from Freedom Stones are made by survivors of trafficking from Ghana. We are in the process of adding more of this company’s products to our site in the next month or so!
Emily founded Stop Traffick Fashion in 2009. She’d been becoming more and more involved in the abolitionist movement, and she decided to start STF as an opportunity to bring together the best of all products made by survivors of trafficking. She hopes her response to trafficking will inspire others to take action, even in a small way. Emily lives in Bend, Oregon, enjoys traveling, and has visited Hagar International and StopStart in Cambodia.
View all posts by: Emily