Human trafficking is one of the fastest growing crimes in the world. There are 45.8 million people enslaved in 167 countries today. The average cost of an individual is less than a new cell phone or about $90 USD.
Reading these statistics, it’s easy to be overwhelmed. However, behind the numbers, you encounter what is most important, the one person.
In our latest Spread the Love workshops, Barefoot Love had the opportunity to encounter and empower the personal faces impacted by human trafficking in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Through your support and purchases, Barefoot Love partnered with XP Missions and were able to sponsor art therapy and creative workshops with freed women and children from sex trafficking. Through our Spread the Love classes, we got to know the people behind the statistics.
“Finally freed, Srey Mom’s dream is to buy a house for her family.”
“When asked why Maneth loved her job now, she said it was because she gets to learn how to design a purse from start to finish!”
One specific program that XP Missions runs is their social enterprise, Everlasting Love.
Women in Cambodia living in poverty are often without skills and education. As a result of their circumstances, many become victims of exploitation, working or sold into prostitution.
Everlasting Love works with women desiring to leave prostitution by providing a 6-month training and discipleship program, where they will learn employable skills through sewing, along with valuable life skills and mentorship. After 6 months, many women continue their employment to help make Everlasting Love products, while others discover their destiny outside of sewing. XP Missions also provide childcare and education sponsorships to the children of women in Everlasting Love.
“The girls learn different styles of bags and different stitching techniques. They learn how to make their own patterns and construct the bags themselves. It’s not like a factory where they are made to do one thing over and over again. One girl starts the bag and she finishes the bag, so it’s all handmade by one woman. They work their way up into the more difficult bags and when they practice and get it perfect, they get silk which is really expensive, and they understand all fabrics aren’t the same, and we can use that to teach them about their value and worth as well.”
EL fabrics that are made from Cambodian silk are all sourced, dyed, and woven locally, through a partner organization that also employs women at-risk. All other fabrics and most materials are locally purchased, so as to support local vendors and distributors. Women are trained up as artisans to hand-make items such as handbags, wallets and clutches, coasters and placemats, scarves and accessories, shirts and other in-season fashion items.
“My hope is to see that they don’t fall into the same patterns as before, that they don’t allow people to tell them who they are and think that love is supposed to be conditional, but that they know who they are and understand that God’s given them their value, and it’s not conditional love, it’s unconditional love. That would be my biggest hope for them.”
With your purchases, Barefoot Love was able to sponsor art therapy and creative workshop classes for women and children part of Everlasting Love in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Thank you!