When did we allow fashion companies to have the power to destroy our home? Allow them to secretly (and not so secretly) deny basic human rights to our fellow human beings?
When did we, as a collective society, go blind?
Child slavery, human trafficking, sexual abuse and even death….all for a 5 dollar t-shirt? All so that we could fill our homes with more and more cheap crap.
When did we forget our values??
When did we forget that we are all equal?
How could we forget that we ALL deserve fair wages, safe working conditions, basic human rights, and the right to work of our own free will?
What is Human Trafficking?
According to antislavery.org, Human trafficking involves the recruitment, harboring or transporting people into a situation of exploitation through the use of violence, deception or coercion and forced to work against their will. In other words, trafficking is a process of enslaving people, coercing them into a situation with no way out, and exploiting them.
People can be trafficked for many different forms of exploitation such as forced prostitution, labor, begging, criminality, domestic servitude, marriage, and organ removal.
Contrary to a common misconception, people don’t necessarily have to be transported across borders for trafficking to take place. In fact, transporting or moving the victim doesn’t necessarily define trafficking.
Many people who fall victim to trafficking want to escape poverty, improve their lives, and support their families. Often they get an offer of a well-paid job abroad or in another region. Often they borrow money from their traffickers in advance to pay for arranging the job, travel, and accommodation. When they arrive they find that the work they applied for does not exist, or the conditions are completely different. But it’s too late, their documents are often taken away and they are forced to work until their debt is paid off.
Human Trafficking is a $150 billion dollar industry with well over 20 million victims; 26% of those victims are children.
One of the scariest things about human trafficking is that it happens right in front of our eyes but many of us have no idea what to look for. For a full list of way to sight human trafficking, check out this very educational page.
How Fay Grant and Michelle Chavez Fight Back
The creators of The Tote Project, Fay and Michelle, have continuously fought back against human trafficking by putting the workers FIRST. They partner up with only those who ensure no slavery exists in the supply chain and DEMAND ethical manufacturing. When businesses put a demand for better working conditions and better treatment of their workers, change DOES happen. When we, as consumers, support those who take these steps to secure a better future, WE are also demanding change!!
To top it all off, these women work with the outstanding organization Freeset Global, which is a fair trade business that offers employment to the survivors of the West Bengal’s sex trade. Through Freeset and The Tote Project, these brave women finally get what they deserve; fair wages, pension plans, occupational therapy, health insurance, and literary and budget lessons.
Every single worker on this planet deserves to be respected, paid fairly and work in a safe environment of their own free will. We must demand this.
If you thought these ladies were done demanding change, just wait until you hear about their sustainability practices!
First off, the factories are in partnership with Oasis bags and are dedicated to empowering women in Kolkata, India. Many of these women go on to become full-time seamstresses and some have even opened up their very own tailoring businesses!
Sustainability practices include fairtrade certified cotton, solar panels, energy-saving LED lights, high promotion of cycling to work (70% of workers cycle!) via interest-free loans from the company, and atriums/ventilators installed for energy savings.
I have been using my Free to Explore Tote since September of Last year and the Free to Grow Tote and Free to Inspire Pouch since a few months ago. I can, without a doubt, say that these are the BEST totes and pouches that I have ever come across (and I come across a ton of totes in my line of work!).
The totes are LARGE. As most of you know, I bike ride vs drive a car and these totes are my go-to for bulk product buying at the markets and lugging it all back home in the bike stroller. With just my two totes I can carry an entire crate of fruits and veggies (I’m talking a LARGE crate that Martin has trouble walking up the steps haha). These totes will never fail you. They are super thick, super durable and just absolutely gorgeous. I used my free to explore tote for my primary purse until the free to grow one came in and then I switched!
The pouch is a dream; it holds ALL of my products. Not just my makeup….but my makeup, face wash, lotion, oils, brush, and toothbrush. ALL in one bag. It’s a must-have item for anyone who needs their products in one fits all bag ( like me!). It’s been a big time-saver for camping, travel and just day to day organization.
Last but not least, The Tote Project donates 10% of all profits to the Two Wings Foundation.
“At Two Wings, our mission is to empower survivors of sex trafficking to identify and pursue their dream vocation through mentoring programs, life skills classes, and career training workshops, creating the path for a life of financial and physical independence. “
I had never heard of this organization until The Tote Project came to our doorstep and I am so thankful for that day for so many reasons. Watching the videos of the survivors of the human trafficking industry really lit a fire under my butt to get to work on spreading awareness. This needs to stop. It MUST stop. We have to take a stand.
We are so honored to have Tote Project Goods grace our home. I am so thankful to have come across this brand through deep research into sustainable living and, of course, so excited to share them with our community today.
**Fay and Michelle were kind enough to gift our family with the following totes and one makeup bag. I cannot even begin to tell you how many uses we have gotten out of these gems. I use them EVERY single day!! Although the items were gifted, the review is all my own and I only ever share items that we cherish in our own home.
The Free to Inspire Pouch (I use this 5 times a day!)