Not long ago, I wrote about how you can help free women in Thailand from the sex trade, simply by purchasing handmade jewelry. Now I want to share with you how you can support alternate employment opportunities for women beginning a journey of freedom from the sex trade in Kolkata (Calcutta), India.
Freeset, founded in 2001, is literally “in business for freedom.” Based in Sonagacchi, the heart of the red-light district in Kolkata, Freeset reaches out to the thousands of women working the streets. Many of these woman were sold into prostitution against their will, and some were even trafficked in from neighboring countries. These woman possess no other means to make a living, and in most cases, are unable to read or write.
That’s where Freeset comes in. The organization takes women off the street and offers them employment. At Freeset, the women learn to read, write, and also learn a useful trade — sewing. Instead of selling their bodies, the women now sew beautiful t-shirts and jute bags from fair trade, organic materials. Freeset exports these handmade products to other countries, collecting all the proceeds to fund the program.
Fair Trade Organic T-Shirts
Each Freeset shirt is
- made with 100% fair trade, organic-certified cotton
- dyed using an eco-friendly process
- printed using an eco-friendly, water-based ink
- available in two women’s cuts and one men’s style
The design on the Signature Tee (shown above) features the names of Freeset women. With each shirt you purchase, you will receive a Key Chain bearing a single name. You can go online to match the name on your keychain to the list of women employed by Freeset , and learn more about the woman who sewed your shirt.
Fair Trade Jute Bags and Totes
The jute bags are crafted from the Indian jute plant and are available in wide variety of styles (the natural messenger bag is shown).
Jute is an environmentally friendly fiber, as it takes only 4-6 months for the plant to reach maturity. Jute grows prolifically in southern India, where the wet climate hastens the plants growth. Cultivation is generally achieved without many pesticides or chemicals, and the plant is also used to make burlap.
Where to Order Freeset Products
Jute Bags: In the U.S., you can purchase Freeset’s jute bags through Better Way Imports online store. To locate retailers in other countries, see the Freeset website’s list of international resellers. If you are interested in placing a bulk older, customized with your own logo or artwork, contact Freeset directly.
Organic Tees: Signature t-shirts can be ordered directly from Freeset’s online shop. Customized 3-color tees are also available with a minimum order of 50 shirts. Details are available here.
Image Credits: Freesetglobal.com