Dawn Manske, CEO and Founder, of Made for Freedom, shares her story of coming face to face with human trafficking and how she’s empowering women to break free from prostitution and create a better life for themselves.
Dawn Manske came face to face with the effects of human trafficking while living in China and decided to devote her life to creating a world free from modern day slavery. She founded Made for Freedom, a social enterprise offering fashion and lifestyle products created by survivors or human trafficking. Manufacturing of these ethically-made products helps to prevent human trafficking by providing dignified employment to victims and women at risk globally. An Arch Grants award-winning organization, Made for Freedom has provided over 9,000 hours of dignified employment for at-risk women worldwide.
Here at Made for Freedom, our team is constantly and passionately pursuing a world without sex trafficking. It is our mission to help end human trafficking.
Our artisans come from a seemingly endless cycle of extreme vulnerability caused by poverty. By paying these women a living wage, we are able to remove the source of their vulnerability, and in turn prevent them from turning to sex trafficking, exploitation or sweat shop labor as their only source of viable income.
Made for Freedom is committed to bringing you products made with dignity. We specifically engage with centers that work with women and girls who have been exploited and marginalized to provide them with the skills and wages they need to rebuild their lives. At these centers, victims of sex slavery and human trafficking learn that they have value, that they are capable, that they are loved, and that healing is possible. Our partners teach women not only to make the products we sell, but also how a business works, and how to use their skills to help others. When women are empowered by employment and education, the cycle of vulnerability and extreme poverty is broken for generations.
Made for Freedom is a unique organization because we don’t really have direct competitors. But if you wanted to compare what we do with mainstream clothing and jewelry companies the difference is our labor force. We know that all of our products are made by people working in dignified labor conditions and that they are earning a living wage. We don’t work with any sweat shops or pay workers such a small amount of money that they can barely make ends meet, which is common in the fashion industry especially in places like China and India where some of the centers for women are located that we work with.
Extreme poverty is a significant contributor to girls being taken from their families and sold to brothels. Sonagachi, in Kolkata, India, is a red light district with over 11,000 women being prostituted out. Our 100% organic cotton shirts are made with dignity by women that have come out of Sonagachi.
Exploitation of girls in Beijing, China can be found in massage parlors, barber shops and bars. Traditionally vulnerable girls from the villages, a recent influx of women being trafficked into the red light districts has changed the landscape. Some Made for Freedom jewelry has been made with dignity by ladies from China and surrounding Asian nations that were rescued from a life of prostitution in Beijing.
Made for Freedom has a holiday special on right now. HOPE, which stands for Holiday gift Options that Protect and Empower. These are special bundles of Made for Freedom products with special pricing for the holidays and they can be seen on the homepage at www.madeforfreedom.com