When we were in Turks and Caicos, I read Corban Addison’s, “A Walk Across The Sun”, a fiction story about two young sisters from India who were tragically sold into the sex trade. This story is actually true though. Human trafficking is taking place in every country across the world, and India is one of the biggest offenders. While I remain passionate about such a magical country that I myself have visited, I’m also aware of the magnitude of its problems – human trafficking being one of the largest. India is considered as the hub of sex trafficking in Asia and it’s estimated that there are more than 3 million women and girls enslaved in the sex trade. Because India is also one of the poorest countries, macro change needs to start on the micro. Helping one woman can multiply to 10, which becomes 50, 100 and so on. I’m super honored to have hooked up with the International Princess Project, whose goal is to do just that. Through the sale of handmade sleep and loungewear called PUNJAMMIES, fashion is used as a vehicle to empower and change lives.
“The International Princess Project’s mission is to create pathways to freedom for women escaping the ravages of sex slavery to achieve lives of hope and dignity.” While some women are fortunate enough to find their way out of the sex trade, they are almost always ostracized by their own families due to shame, despite any control they had over their own situations. Shannon Keith, the companies founder, returned home from a trip to India, and after spending much time in the red light districts listening to women discuss their stories first hand, she was inspired, and wanted to help.
Shannon began The International Princess Project “which partners with indigenous organizations to establish micro-enterprise sewing centers that offers these women a fresh start and place to heal.” Not only do these centers help nurture these women back to physical and emotional health, but then further provides them with the opportunity to learn sewing skills that will help them earn an above average fair and sustainable wage. With these new skills, the women create quality sleep and loungewear called PUNJAMMIES which is exported to the United States and sold online all over the world. 100% of the proceeds are reinvested into these sewing centers to expand this opportunity to more and more women.
January is human trafficking awareness month, and every Wednesday throughout, The International Princess Project has initiated the #redlightwednesday movement, a reminder to all of us to think/pray for those still trapped in the red light districts all over the world. This is the last Wednesday of the month, but our awareness should not stop here.
Human trafficking IS modern-day slavery, and it must come to an end. The International Princess Project believes that together, we can make this happen. What started with 6 women, has now grown to 150, all of whose lives are forever changed because of this organization. These women now have a new chance at a new life. A fresh start. A small contribution can change lives – believe in the power of making a difference.
I am completely moved, and inspired by this organization, and recognize that collective small efforts are what’s needed for major change. I urge you to check out the emotional video with founder Shannon Keith and Executive Director Julie Wood which explains in full depth the mission of The International Princess Project. And you can pick up a pair of PUMJAMMIES for you or as a gift and get involved by clicking over here to donate to the organization directly. Join me.
photography via paula watts