Human Trafficking Awareness Month: Made for Freedom is style for social justice

According to a study done by the International Labour Organization in 2016, an estimated 40.3 million people were in modern slavery. And 99% of those victims in the commercial sex industry are women and girls, and one in four victims of modern slavery are children. Dawn Manske, the founder of Made for Freedom, witnessed the atrocities of human trafficking firsthand while working as an English teacher in China. After meeting children who were being used as slave labor and seeing a report with girls under the age of ten-years-old being sold to men, she knew she had to do something to inflict change.

Made for Freedom is a social enterprise offering fashion and lifestyle products created by survivors of human trafficking and people coming out of marginalized situations. Manufacturing of these ethically-made products helps to prevent human trafficking by providing dignified employment to victims and women at risk globally. In centers around the world, from St. Louis to India to Thailand to Ghana, women earn a living wage handcrafting clothing, accessories, handbags, and jewelry. They also receive ongoing education and job training through a portion of Made for Freedom sales.

Survivors and marginalized people at Made for Freedom partner centers are provided with the skills and wages they need to rebuild their lives. At these centers, victims of sex slavery and human trafficking learn that they have value, that they are capable, that they are loved, and that healing is possible. Made for Freedom partners teach women not only to make the products sold through Made for Freedom, but also how a business works, and how to use their skills to help others.

“While working abroad and traveling to different centers, I have heard many stories about financial difficulties and the resulting vulnerabilities caused by extreme poverty,” said Manske. “These experiences drove me to start a social enterprise that provides dignified employment for women and young ladies in the U.S. and around the world who are at-risk or have been rescued from human trafficking. Many of the victims I have met were tricked or forced into sex slavery with the promise of a good job and better life. With the treatment and care they receive at our partner centers and through the production of Made for Freedom products, we are able to help them achieve their goal of a brighter future. Dignified employment gives them the tools they need to be self-sustaining. When a woman has a good job she doesn’t need a handout.”

Made for Freedom’s first product was CREABELI fisherman style pants. While living in Asia, Dawn became a fan of the pants because of their easy style and comfort. She adapted them for everyday wear, transforming them into a fashion trend that can be dressed up for the office or worn casually on weekends. Other Made for Freedom products include handmade earrings, necklaces, bracelets, keychains, scarves, purses, t-shirts, and yoga accessories.

To help further combat the growth of the human and sex trafficking epidemic, Made for Freedom has also created programs for Ambassadors, Affiliates, and Retail Partners. Ambassadors can host DEEP (Dignified Employment Empowers & Protects) Fashion Events, connect Made for Freedom with retailers, and host trunk shows. For more information about how to get involved with the Made for Freedom social enterprise and to purchase Made for Freedom products, visit: www.madeforfreedom.com.

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