TUCSON- Dawn Manske, founder of Made for Freedom, is using fashion to combat the worldwide issue of human trafficking.
While teaching English overseas in Asia, Manske witnessed the grim reality of the sex-slave trade, which is one of the biggest illegal industries in the world, victimizing more than 20 million people.
A 2017 report indentified 516 juveniles and 1,777 known adult human trafficking victims in Arizona during 2015-2016.
Manske, inspired to make a positive difference, decided to start up a clothing company in St. Louis, Missouri, called Made for Freedom.
The group helps vulnerable populations globally by providing employment opportunities, such as threading together a variety of fashion items.
Made for Freedom has provided over 6,000 hours of employment to women in multiple countries who are at risk of falling into human trafficking ring.
Twenty percent of proceeds go toward funding education programs and counseling services for the workers.
Manske frequently travels, serving as an advocate for victims of human trafficking and educating the public about what can be done to end the illegal practice.
"We are putting together programs where people can host a gathering of their own and talk about what are the key components of exploitation, how do we identify it -- stepping in and providing dignified employment for survivors and those who were marginalized and very much at risk,” Manske said.
Manske advises looking for minors who seem quiet and avoid eye contact while traveling with the trafficker. In many cases, the trafficker won’t leave the victim alone.
Spotting trafficked individuals has become increasingly difficult because of the internet and smart phones, she added.
"When in reality it's a perpetrator or a procure trying to just convince her that she's going to make her life wonderful when in reality it's a lie it's deception and she gets sold into slavery,” Manske said.
To learn more about Made for Freedom, click https://madeforfreedom.com/
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