This is a note from Mat and Becky … We are grateful for you. Thank you for taking this journey with us – to bring freedom, dignity, and hope to those who need it most. If you have questions about the impact of your purchases, here are answers to frequently asked questions that we hope serve you.
Who is Trade for Freedom?
Trade for Freedom is a social business who provides you with an opportunity to purchase products that provide freedom. We are about creating transformative relationships between compassionate consumers and women living in freedom. Your purchases provide dignifying employment and Christian discipleship to women. We source all of our products from like-hearted social businesses who pay their employees livable wages, afford health care benefits, ensure safe working conditions, and provide Christian discipleship to those who wish to participate (it’s always voluntary.)
Freedom from what?
Freedom from exploitation. At least 20 million men, women, and children are enslaved today – 78% are enslaved in the labor industry and 22% are bonded to sexual slavery. The roots causes are found in extreme poverty. An employed mother or father can still be subject to extreme poverty if they aren’t being paid a fair wage. For instance, in the manufacturing industry, they are often paid excessively low wages that aren’t enough to feed their family, send their children to school or put a roof over their heads. In many situations, they live in the factory where they work and are forced to labor long hours. Often, children work alongside their parents in these factories and do not attend school due to lack of resources. Furthermore, women and children are lured into sexual slavery due to lack of opportunities and the desperation caused by poverty.
By buying products from Trade for Freedom you are providing freedom to women and children from the exploitation I described. You are giving them an opportunity to work in a job that pays a livable wage and ensures their children have an opportunity for education. They will be working in a safe environment with normal work hours. And they will be blessed with Christian discipleship (participation is voluntary) because we believe that hope comes not only from employment but foremost from a relationship with Christ.
Does Trade for Freedom rescue women from exploitation?
No, Trade for Freedom does not rescue women. Rather, Trade for Freedom ensures dignifying employment opportunities are available to women so that they never have to fall prey to exploitation. We also seek to invest in businesses that employ survivors. Our heart to prevent exploitation and support healing, where needed.
Were these women victims of trafficking and what is their background?
We understand your hearts in asking these questions. You want to have a personal connection and to pray for these women. All of these women come from difficult backgrounds and a variety of circumstances. However, we will not be providing details about their pasts so as to protect their privacy and dignity, as well as to preserve the profile of our partners.
What is the impact of my purchase?
Every purchase contributes to the fight against trafficking by securing a job for a survivor, providing employment to women at high risk, or funding a prevention initiative for girls to ensure they don't fall prey. Your purchase also provides an employment opportunity in a life-giving environment where Christian discipleship is available. We are committed to helping our partners thrive in order that more dignifying (hope-giving) jobs can be made available.
How much of my money goes to the women and girls?
All employees are paid a fair, livable monthly wage. Your money sustains their employment and contributes towards that monthly wage. Sales equal employment, dignity, and sustainability. Without sales, these women will not be able to maintain their job. Profits are re-invested into social businesses fighting trafficking or addressing other important social issues such as child protection and disabilities.
What does “ethically produced” mean?
Trade for Freedom defines “ethically produced” as being manufactured by a business that provides fair wages, safe working conditions, and health care benefits. All of our manufacturers hold extremely high standards, ensuring the rights of their workers are secured and they are being employed with dignity.