Thursday, July 16, 2009

TheBlindProject 2009Plan

We left the brothel quiet and dumbfounded by what we saw. Pink Rose Pajamas. Forced Giggles. Locked Doors.

In 2006, three roommates quit their jobs in New York in search of truth half way around the world. They travelled to Southeast Asia to uncover the dark secrets behind sex trafficking. Since then TheBlindProject has grown into a collective of individuals committed to work towards a solution to this crazy problem.

The problem is clear. An estimated two million young women and children are enslaved by the $28 billion global commercial sex trade. They are treated like meaningless commodities; sold and bought, resold and bought again to as many as 30 strangers a day for as little as $20.

Not a day goes by where we don’t remember those faces we saw. The eyes of children trapped in concrete rooms weigh heavy on our hearts. But then hope reminds us of the smiles and laughs, the sprints and jumps of rescued girls who are now safe in aftercare shelters. We're humbled to have had the opportunity to visit, play and talk with them about this new life that most of them only dreamed to see one day.

Every life is important. Their hopes are worthy. Their dreams are precious. Their stories are valuable.

One unforgettable story that encourages us is that of Qujen. Qujen was 13 years old when her mother sold her to a brothel for a mere $300. She remembers, “I felt like a wilted flower, or a dead butterfly” and was subjected to the whims of nine men a day. After six months in the brothel, she was rescued and transferred to Hagar Cambodia Aftercare. Qujen often feels afraid, but she is slowly healing into a brave and compassionate young woman. “This is me, a lotus flower growing in muddy, dirty waters. My dream is to work in an NGO.”

We will not let these young women and children be defined by their past. We will honor and celebrate their luminous spirits and the beauty of renewal. As we move forward to create our fashion brand, every product will be a tangible and visceral connection to the physical, emotional and economic renewal of victims of sex trafficking. No longer will the things taken away from them define their lives. Instead of being shamed and deemed worthless, they will be empowered with the knowledge of their dignity, beauty and self-worth. Join us.

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