In observance of Global Human Trafficking Awareness Day (which was yesterday), I wanted to lift up the work of the Nomi Network and Sweet Notions, two grassroots charities that I profiled last year on the God's Politics Blog regarding their work with sex workers.
The Truth Isn't Sexy Campaign, which represented one of the earliest endeavors to build awareness about human trafficking, closed shop in 2008. In evaluating this three-year campaign, UK-based social entrepreneur and a U.S. emerging church pioneer, Shannon Hopkins noted, "For women rescued from trafficking there is very little therapy that they receive. They receive basic needs but there just aren't the resources to fund healing and restoration. But we know that giving women the opportunity to create together, empowering them with new skills and opportunities leads to healing, empowerment and restoration."
So, in 2010, they launched a pilot for Sweet Notions Design Camps, where they are working with all sorts of marginalized and vulnerable women. Currently, they are wrapping up the evaluation of the pilot with plans to see more design camps start in 2011. So far, the results have proven that the women who participate in these design camps become more empowered, confident, and re-integrated into society. They hope these design camps can continue to create communities and give women the tools and experiences they need to achieve a fully restored life.
The Nomi Network, winner of the Classy Award for Small Charity of the Year, follows a similar model to equipping at-risk women with valuable skills and creating a market for their products. In 2010 they helped approximately 50 survivors and women at risk to gain sustainable economic opportunities. They did this by launching 24 products made by these women, which to date they've been able to distribute to 8 boutiques in three major cities. Also, they've established key relationships with other anti-trafficking organizations such as REDLIGHT CHILDREN, Made by Survivors, Stop Child Trafficking Now, Destiny Rescue, and AGAPE.
For more information about this global epidemic, check out the Not for Sale Campaign.
Shannon Hopkins is one of the many ordinary radicals Becky Garrison encountered in travels that she documented in Jesus Died for This?: A Satirist's Search for the Risen Christ.