Trapped. Scared. Hurt. Desolate. Grim. Undesirable. Brandished with shame. Figuratively, and perhaps literally, in bondage. The subject of affliction. Robbed of dignity. These are all emotions or states that women around the globe are tormented by each waking moment as they are trafficked or forced to engage in prostitution in order to survive. When the choice is for you and your family to go hungry or sell the body that is the only marketable “good” you have access to, there is no choice involved. WIthout access to education, skills, or supplies, sex and child labor are frequently what women and families must resort to make ends meet. While prostitution is often called the oldest profession, in reality it is the oldest form of oppression.
When I was 12 years old, I had the opportunity to help one of these women with no where else to turn by purchasing a bracelet she had made. Her name is Por and she hails from Thailand. Made from small seed pearls and waxed rope, the bracelet remains a treasured piece and a reminder of how fortunate I am; the relic also serves to spark my encouragement of other women, both in times of struggle and joy. The hand crafted tag that accompanied the jewelry noted that Por was 37 at the time, meaning that she is about 45 now. I never have had the chance to meet her, but knowing that she was able to provide for herself and that I had the privilege to be a part of that empowerment has been incredible.
The organization that made this partnership possible is called Narimon. The company only has 3 employees, a couple based in Thailand and a U.S. Director; they rely on volunteers for the remaining work. Narimon serves women by working together across continents to empower women to wholeness while equipping them to bless others. These women once were either forced to sell their dignity, or by their situation were at high risk to do so. Now they are able to lead normal lives and provide for themselves, doing inspiring, ethical work.
How can you help encourage and empower other women? In addition to the Narimon site, there are links to some phenomenal brands in the Twin Cities metro area. Fair Anita and My Sister both sell products that alleviate women from trafficking and help them find their power.
*To learn more about trafficking, check out: