Who We Are
In November, 2014, a small group of travelers took a trip some 8,500 miles across the world that left them unsettled after walking through an Indian brothel. What they saw demanded a response. So, they formed a tribe of like-minded people and started doing research. When they realized that human trafficking in India was a bigger problem than they imagined, they began strategizing the best ways to respond to it.
During their research, the team heard about the establishment of freedom businesses, which are businesses that provide employment to the formerly trafficked and exploited, giving them a choice - something they’ve never had before.
With this choice, these women are able to become creators of their own destinies, leading their families and communities to previously unimaginable heights.
That’s when Freedom Trade International was born.
What Is Human Trafficking?
Human trafficking is the “recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor services through the use of force, fraud, or coercion.” It is the fastest growing criminal industry in the world, generating more than $150 billion USD every year.
Human Trafficking in India
Illiteracy, poverty, & exploitation make human trafficking a viable industry in India.
Illiteracy affects more than 287 million adults (amounts to 1/3 of the global total). The literacy rate in India is 70%, which means that 30% of the adult population is illiterate. A fundamental lack of education leads not only to unemployment and a lack of opportunities, but also to an inner sense of depravity and helplessness.
This inner poverty translates into physical poverty—the second issue that we target. Around 67% of Indians live on less than $2 a day. Population size, lack of sanitation & safe resources, disease, inability to afford an education, unemployment, social stigmas, & gender inequality also fuel poverty.
The combination of illiteracy & poverty creates vulnerability, making individuals & families become frequent targets of exploitation and human trafficking.
The purpose of trafficking is always exploitation, which may be through bonded labor, forced labor, child labor, organ trafficking, armed conflict, forced marriage, or sex trafficking. Women and children are vastly over-represented, making up 71% of victims of modern-day slavery.
Why a freedom business?
We believe that freedom businesses have the power to enrich & transform entire communities. We also know that it takes much effort to provide a safe & nurturing environment for these women. Freedom Trade is specifically committed to forming intentional relationships within the communities and the brothels of India. Trust is essential. In many situations, it is difficult for a woman to recover from the physical, emotional, & mental trauma of being treated as property and sold as a commodity.
Through partnership with local trusts, we help each woman rediscover her identity. She is taught basic literary skills & guided by counselors in making wise and educated decisions for her new life, like: where she will live, how to manage a budget, and learning to prosper in an environment of freedom. When she is ready, she is taught the necessary skills to create a product that she can be proud of and earn a fair wage that she keeps. It's about giving her a hand up rather than a hand out. It's about empowering her to have a sustainable, healthy, & purposeful life. After finding freedom, that woman then becomes a catalyst of change for others like her to experience freedom too.
How can I make a difference?
We believe appearances are deceiving and that India is not hopeless, but full of potential. It takes an entire community to rehabilitate a woman on her journey to freedom. Your help is vital to her and her family’s success, and enables & equips us to give vulnerable women a business alternative.
With a strong support system, a freedom business cannot fail. It takes a lot of time, research, and effort - but these women are worth it! You make our work and that of our partners a reality. Consider partnering with us as we bring hope for the hopeless, a voice for the voiceless, and freedom for the captives. Head over to our "Take Action" page for more information!