Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Fashion with a Purpose


Today has been a day of reminders. Specific reminders about a cause that is very important to us, so I decided to push back the original post and write about trafficking today.It isn't the first time I've posted about trafficking, but I wanted to say something again because it's just so important.

For starters, Tara Teng- who accompanied my husband on his adventure around the world LAST YEAR is currently in China competing in Miss World and representing Canada. She is an incredible woman who believes in "Beauty with a Purpose" and uses her platform to fight against the trafficking in a real way. Everything she does is geared toward raising awareness and destroying the exploitation of women and children.
There was also THIS ARTICLE about Giles Newsom who was the "face of child labor" in the early 1900's. While girls are almost always trafficked for sex, little boys are often used for slave labor. John saw small children toiling away in the blazing heat working in rice fields first hand.
Then, this morning my best friend, Stephie, pinned sevenly.org, which is a company that has weekly sales to support different charities.
Shirt available at sevely.org - $22
The one that she pinned today supports Somaly Mam a group that works to end sex slavery in Cambodia.
This really hit home for us because John traveled to Cambodia (and Thailand)with www.trafficjam.org for the purpose of making a documentary about child trafficking and to play at an anti-trafficking concert hosted by MTV.
It was an incredible and emotional experience for him, he went to various villages in Cambodia and worked with orphans  as well as teams who rescue trafficked women and children. The hardest part was going to the "floating village", he was rowed out to different homes that floated along the water and he hung out with the families. Meeting families who had already sold their eldest daughters into sex slavery... and playing games of peek-a-boo with little girls not yet sold broke his heart. He still has a hard time talking about it. One specific family had named their daughters "beautiful", "flower" and "pink" in their language... he couldn't understand how the family could give them such valuing names and then sell them for a week's worth or wages, or worse... the cost of a new TV.
Children are being sold all over the world, as young as 4 and 5 years old, and being forced to do the most unimaginable things. As we raised money and awareness for the bulk of 2010 and 2011, I was really surprised to see how people responded to trafficking. Most people had no idea these things were happening in the world (and by the way- we aren't safe in America, it happens here too even though it's on a much smaller scale). The worst encounter happened at a racing event. We spent the entire day there and raised about $30. A man walked up and asked for more information about what we were doing (we had signs + video, so most people had at least an idea of what we were doing). When I told him we were raising money to get children out of sex slavery his response was disgusting, "Get them out?! I want to know how to get them IN!"
...
I have never been so enraged in my life. I'm not sure if he was joking or just a perverted individual, but either way it was shocking. Child trafficking is a real + terrifying issue. There are so many organizations fighting against it- I encourage you to take a look around and see if you can be part of one. Even if it means just supporting a home for rescued woman by purchasing some jewelry or other wares they have made (see my linked post "last year" for more details).
Every now and then I have no choice to take a serious tone. I love sunshine and rainbows as much as the next person- but there is also a responsibility to remember that for some (these children + woman) life is thunderstorms and nightmares... and to do what we can to help them.
If you want to see more about my husband's trip last year, you can watch the video above. It's about 5 minutes long and includes real footage of their trip to Asia as well as the MTV concert. John is the one with short reddish brownish hair + a light beard (the drummer).
Until tomorrow- all the best and as always, thanks for reading.

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