I adore Freeset bags! I have three … and every single time I carry one I get asked where I got it. I love answering that question! For the second year in a row, I’m thankful to be a part of Freeset’s Christmas campaign to raise awareness about what they do and women they help. They call it 12 Days of Freedom … I call it a great way to buy an awesome bag for someone on your list!
Here’s what Freeset does:
Freeset is in business for freedom. Freedom from human trafficking. Freeset is a fair trade business that sells bags and t-shirts, made by women freed from human trafficking in Calcutta, India. The women are able to have a job with dignity, making products, instead of being the product. Every woman receives three times the wage they would receive in line (the prostitution line), learn to read and write, daycare for their children, have medical insurance and retirement benefits. Women were tricked, trapped, or traded and find themselves seemingly without a choice. Our goal is to change the economic scope of Sonagacchi, Calcutta’s largest red light district, to one of freedom, instead of the sex trade.
The statistics I found indicate between 700,000 and 4 million women and children are trafficked in a $7 billion a year industry that includes prostitution, forced labor, and other forms of exploitation. (source) It feels overwhelming to consider that many people, that much money. I was unaware of the reality of trafficking until my husband and I saw the movie Taken a few years ago. After I watched that movie, I began researching the reality of modern day slavery … and what I learned was unthinkable. The reality of people being bought and sold, used and abused, in the United States and nearly every county around the world is, for most of us, unimaginable.
But for women like Bijoya, it’s not merely a far-away bad dream, it’s the reality of her past. Freeset was literally her lifeline to freedom. The opportunity to work for an organization like Freeset was the only way she could have left the horrors of the life she was in. She says,
Before I was doing “bad” work and now I do good work. I have fun and this is a happy place and time passes fast. I work hard and am proud of our work. If I wasn’t at Freeset, then my life would be very bad. Old age would be very hard for me, as no one would give me any other work.
Now she is a worker in the screen printing department of Freeset. Proud of what she does, Bijoya says, “I try to work hard so that you always get a good bag or t-shirt. If it is good quality then you will buy more.” You can be a part of the freedom story by buying a bag Bijoya has been a part of screening. This beautiful bird print Cluster bag is an example of the work Bijoya does every day. The price for this bag is $15 … but being a part of the story of freedom for women like Bijoya is priceless!
I love this bag! But more, I love that when I purchase bags or t-shirts from Freeset I become a part of the freedom story! Perhaps you have been looking for the perfect gift for someone on your list, trust me, a Freeset bag will make any woman smile!
How do you try to give gifts that have an impact around the world?