This commitment means a lot to us and we have been searching for the right partner. We knew right away that the cause we were both most passionate about is human trafficking. We also see the negative impacts of the fashion industry to human trafficking. We went in search of an organization that fit our vision. We specifically wanted to find an organization that provided victim support and education in the USA and abroad. As “accountants” we wanted to find an organization that was transparent about how funds are spent and to be able to see that our donations would reach the victims or potential victims.
As Department of Defense employees, we have taken countless courses about human trafficking, but we are still shocked about how big of a problem it is, today in 2020! Here are a few facts from the National Human Trafficking Hotline:
- The International Labor Organization estimates that there are 40.3 million victims of human trafficking globally, with hundreds of thousands in the United States.
- The victims of this crime in the U.S. are men and women, adults and children, and foreign nationals and U.S. citizens.
- Human trafficking victims have been identified in cities, suburbs, and rural areas in all 50 states, and in Washington, D.C.
- They are made to work or provide commercial sex against their will in legal and legitimate business settings as well as underground markets.
- Some victims are hidden behind locked doors in brothels and factories. In other cases, victims are in plain view and may interact with community members, but the widespread lack of awareness and understanding of trafficking leads to low levels of victim identification by the people who most often encounter them.
As moms, this is scary and heartbreaking, and as business women, we know we have the responsibility to make a difference. As women now in the fashion industry which is directly linked to so much human trafficking because of the demand for low cost, fast fashion, we believe we need to do our part to educate our customers and help prevent this! We have done our research - as any good prior auditor would do, and we finally landed on the perfect organization for us! We will be sending contributions every quarter to Love146.
Love146 is an international human rights organization working to end child trafficking and exploitation through survivor care and prevention. They are based in Connecticut and have survivor care in the Philippines, the USA, and the United Kingdom. They also focus on education and prevention. During our interview with Love146, we learned more about the organization and there was no doubt they were the right choice for us. You may be wondering about how they came up with their name. Here is their story - in their words.
Before starting Love146, the co-founders of Love146 traveled to Southeast Asia on an exploratory trip to determine how they could serve in the fight against child sex trafficking. They were taken undercover with investigators to a brothel where they witnessed children being sold for sex. The children sat blankly watching cartoons on TV. They were vacant shells of what a child should be. There was no light in their eyes, no life left. Their light had been taken from them. These children…raped each night… seven, ten, fifteen times every night. They were so young. Thirteen, eleven… it was hard to tell. Sorrow covered their faces with nothingness.
Except one girl. One girl who wouldn’t watch the cartoons. Her number was 146. She was looking beyond the glass. She was staring out at us with a piercing gaze. There was still fight left in her eyes. There was still life left in this girl. By the time they raided the brothel, number 146 was gone and to this day they don’t know what happened to her. But, her fight will be forever remembered and Love146 was born.
As with anything else, there is red tape related to this type of business relationship. We are required to file a bunch of paperwork with the state of California to be able to tell our customers that we are giving a specific percentage of profits to a specific organization. But, we believe it is important to be transparent and we want our customers to know that we are committed to what we say we are. So, the paperwork is underway.
We are excited to share this with you as another step in the journey of our sustainable fashion boutique. Our hearts are full and we feel confident that this decision is going to help us make a difference. We encourage you to check out Love 146 and to make your own donation. Here’s a link to their site: www.love146.org