Word of Mouth: HGC x Charity Girl Problems, The Fashionable Fight Against Modern Day Slavery
Editor’s Note: Happy New Year from the HGC fam to yours! I’m excited to welcome another year of fun fashion finds, new collaborators and new brands that look good, do good and give back. One of the most exciting things about 2016 was finding new partners who have the same vision and view on fashion for good shopping: Making 2017 a year of being a conscious consumer and looking good while doing so. The latest Word of Mouth column from Brooke of Charity Girl Problems is dedicated to brands that support the fight against human trafficking. We literally have the same vision- we both are huge fans of The Tote Project‘s “Free to Explore” tote! P.S. They are currently sold out, but check here for more styles! Below Brooke shares wth us why it’s important to learn more about what we can do to help make a difference.
Charity Girl’s Must-Have Fashion Accessories for the New Year
By Brooke Marston
Several years ago, a friend of mine was putting on an event. My life was undergoing some major changes and I needed a distraction. So I volunteered to help her out, to which she gracefully accepted. Little did I know the world I was about to step into and how it would change me.
The event was a fundraiser for CAST LA, an organization dedicated to ending modern day slavery. Yes, modern. day. slavery. My little bubble world took a massive hit. How could this exist in our watch? We’re the defenders of the free world, the key word being free. We’ve fought wars over this. Hundreds of people gave their lives a hundred years ago. How does slavery still exist today, in our modern age? Especially within our borders?
But there I was, listening to the story of a woman from the Philippines who thought she landed the job of a lifetime. They were flying her to America (first class, none the less). She would make more than enough money to send to her family back home. They would finally be able to end their cycle of poverty. Her dream was finally coming true.
Then she arrived here in the US. They seized her passport, replacing it with a bill for her travel expenses; then another one for her room and board. She would have to work until these bills were paid off – then she would receive the promised wages. Naturally, every month her bills piled up faster than she could pay them back. There was very little money to send home. And never money left for her.
I’ve never forgotten her story. And since then, I have learned many, many more stories about women, girls, men, and boys, who were trafficked, each equally heartbreaking. Many have become amazing symbols of resilience. They have survived the worst life has to offer and somehow have manage to stay hopeful.
January is Human Trafficking Awareness month, a time to focus on and draw attention to this horrific industry existing in the shadows all around us. Personally, this month serves as a reminder as to how differently my life could have turned out. Had I not been born to my parents, what would my life be like? Would I be one of these 20-30 million people living as a slave?
Every day children are sold by their family for food, teen girls runaway from abusive households only to end up on the streets, dream jobs turn into slavery. I could have easily been one of those numbers.
I am forever grateful to be born into the life I was given. For me, it also comes with a responsibility to share my abundance with those who were not so lucky. For this month’s Charity Girl must-haves I’ve rounded up a few of my favorite things that support the fight to end modern day slavery.
The Tote Project | “Free To Explore” Tote & “Sweater Weather” Pouch
Co-Founders (and best friends) Michelle Chavez and Fay Grant share a passion for empower, restoration and freedom. They created the Tote Project as a way to create a future for those who survived and made the transition out of the sex trade. Not only are the bags made by survivors in India (who are paid a fair and liveable wage) they donate 20% to Two Wings, an organization who empower survivors to pursue their dream jobs. Click here to shop: The Tote Project
Purpose Jewelry | Necklace
Purpose Jewelry partners with International Sanctuary to ensure each survivor they work with receives the holistic care they need as they transition to the next chapter of their life. Not only are these women able to earn a fair wage, they are provided access to healthcare education, and counseling to ensure every possible chance of success. I can’t tell you how many times I get stopped when I wear this necklace, which makes me happy as I get to tell the story of the survivors behind it. Click here to shop: Purpose Jewelry
Branded Collective | Bracelet
If you look closely, you’ll notice this bracelet has a number engraved on it. Each number “brands” the person who wears the bracelet, symbolic of the branding survivors receive from their captors. The process is often violent and forced open them; sometimes as a tattoo, sometimes with a knife. Each bracelet is made by survivors from the Nashville based non-profit End Slavery Tennessee, where they not only earn a fair living, they receive training, education, and aftercare. Click here to shop: Branded Collective
Thanks Brooke for being such an inspiration! Don’t forget to check out her website, www.charitygirlproblems.com, and to follow her on social media: Facebook, Instagram, and on Twitter. Check out where to buy her favorite New Year’s picks that help the fight against human trafficking: The Tote Project, Purpose Jewelry and Branded Collective.
All photos by Brooke Marston of Charity Girl Problems unless otherwise noted