Today marks day 17 of Dressember, a month-long campaign to end human trafficking. I have joined with women from all over the world who are bringing light to this issue. As we commit to wearing a dress each day all month, we are saying that we are in thought, spirit and prayer (if we’re the praying type) with the victims of human trafficking. Human trafficking is a global problem where millions are kept in slavery around the world. It’s horrific.
As we go through my outfits this week, I also want to write about several stories of trafficking victims I’ve read. Since this blog is about the stories of women, I want to help share their stories so that you may be inspired to take action. Perhaps that action will look like educating your friends and family about the issue. Perhaps that action will look like making a donation to Dressember. Perhaps that may look like joining Dressember. There are so many possibilities when you open your heart to making the world a better place.
These photos are from several of my Dressember days. I hope you enjoy the outfits.
The first story I’m sharing is about a woman named Nina. It initially caught my attention for obvious reasons. Nina was actually the pseudonym for the protagonist due to victim safety. Irregardless, it caught my attention.
Nina’s story is one of betrayal. She left her homeland of Bulgaria with her husband and child in search of work in Greece. Once there, her boyfriend forced her into prostitution. He threatened both her and her child if she refused. I cannot imagine what it must feel like to be betrayed by someone who you thought loved you.
She got arrested on a prostitution charge and the government referred her to the A21 Campaign who was connected with a crisis shelter. A21, by the way, is one of the two organizations that Dressember funds go to. Can I just say how I love that they referred her to a place where she could get help rather than prison? I’ve heard that this can be a problem, especially in the United States. Furthermore, victims in the US are often trafficked here illegally and have the danger of being thrown into an immigration detention facility. How unfair is that? Bottom line, victims of trafficking neat a safe place to heal. So I’m so glad that A21 was there to be that light for Nina.
When she arrived at the shelter, she was several months pregnant. She went back to Bulgaria and moved into the A21 transitional housing. She was then able to move into her own apartment.
Nina, however, had a talent. She could knit scarves. The social workers started selling her scarves. She now has six other women knitting scarves and has been promoted to part-time supervisor. The story talked about how hard it is for women in Bulgaria with small children to find work. Click here to read the story about Nina.
Also, I think I found the scarves! They look AMAZING! With winter kicking in, I may need to get one!
Also to note about this. This dress is compliments of Gwynibee, a dress-rental service focusing on plus-sized women. I am not plus-sized. I stumbled upon this website from an ad when they advertised “first 30 days free!” It was only after I committed that I realized that they do not have anything smaller than size 10. I’m normally a 6-8 in dresses, so it’s not terribly off. Plus some brands carry mediums. Like this one. Also, that print is of giraffes!
With this service, depending on how much you pay each month you can rent one, two or three items at a time. If you cannot part with an item, you have an option to buy. I’m excited to check a few more dresses before my free subscription runs out.
Anyway, so back to stories of trafficking victims. This story especially breaks my heart because the victim is six-years-old. I cannot remember too much from age six, but my memories were happy and innocent. I lived in a nice home with two wonderful parents who have always wanted the best for me. I was so lucky to have never experienced anything so horrendous.
This girl and four other children has been living in Cebu, Philippines in an abusive household. The children were a part of cybersex. Basically, pedophiles around the world pay to watch a live video of these children performing forced sexual acts. The disgusting thing is that these children were being abused by their own family members in their own home. These sorts of cases are the hardest to find because they are so hidden.
This next series of photos were taken by my friend Hillary Cutter at the Contemporary Arts Center.
I hope these stories have resonated with you like they have with me. The good news is that myself and so many other women are doing something about this. You can be the change! Please visit my Dressember page if you wish. You can click here. Thanks for reading!