January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month – time set aside to acknowledge a human rights violation with millions of victims worldwide, many of whom are women and children. Despite increased global awareness of the issue, human trafficking is still the world’s fastest-growing criminal activity.
From Awareness to Impact
Being aware of the issue is only the first step to prevent human trafficking. Beyond that, concrete actions from those willing to take a stand will make even more impact. As we touched on in our last blog post, social enterprises play an important role in combating human trafficking.
Social enterprises address the economic roots of market demand that underlie human trafficking, and represent an alternate business model that is mindful of supply chains. Additionally, many social enterprises provide a form of rehabilitation for survivors by providing job opportunities and social stability.
Spotlight on Social Enterprises Combating Human Trafficking
There are many social enterprises around the world whose mission is to combat human trafficking. Here are just a few social enterprises that we think you should get to know!
The Made for Them brand is a non-profit social enterprise that began with a vision to help raise awareness and resources to combat human trafficking through fashion. Made for Them raises awareness and resources for those in forced labor and sexual exploitation. In addition to selling clothes and health and beauty products, Made for Them is involved in advocacy and providing therapeutic survivor services.
As a social enterprise, their business model is structured so that 100% of profits go to the mission of preventing human trafficking. Each product is hand-made by a survivor or made in ways that support fair labor and social circumstances that protect vulnerable populations from victimization.
For more than 20 years, Thistle Farm’s mission has been to heal, empower and employ female survivors of human trafficking, prostitution, and addiction. They achieve this by providing safe and supportive housing, economic opportunities, and a strong community of advocates and partners. Residents and graduates of their residential program are employed in one of the divisions in their social enterprise, such as the natural body and home product company, the Café at Thistle Farms, the Studios, and Thistle Farms Global.
Theirs is a great example of how social enterprise can combat modern slavery by addressing the roots of the problem. As they state on their website, for example, “Thistle Farms Global connects women producers in 10 countries directly to customers by distributing and selling their handmade products. Our shared trade model increases their share of profit margin, creates economic opportunity, and builds community.”
The Branded Collective is an economic empowerment program located in Tennessee, where female survivors of human trafficking collaborate with local artisans to design and make jewelry. As a social enterprise, the Collective also commits to ethical production of their jewelry and states they source locally whenever possible.
Due to the fact that many victims of human trafficking are branded by their abusers with a number or a symbol, BRANDED Collective takes a unique stand against this practice.
Each BRANDED item is stamped with an initial and a number. The initial belongs to the survivor who made the cuff and her story is posted on the company website. People who buy a cuff can also register that number to send a message to the survivors – a practice that increases social connection and human impact as well!
CiTTA’s Vision: A Mission-Driven Economy
Here at CiTTA Partnership we recognize the need for social enterprises to be part of the solution to human trafficking. We stand committed to a mission-driven economy that not only assists survivors of trafficking, but also tackles the root causes of modern slavery.
We hope you’ll check out the businesses highlighted in today’s blog, and check back next week for our final post in this series!