There is a misconception that slavery was abolished by William Wilberforce in the 19th Century. The reality today is there are more slaves than ever before in history.
An estimated 45.8 million people are held in modern slavery around the world.* It is the fastest growing International crime, second only to drug dealing. (Drugs you can sell once, a human can be sold time and time again.) It is also the second highest source of illegal income worldwide with profits of $150 billion per year.
In Britain alone there is an estimated 13,000 victims – from domestic servants working without pay, the young man washing your car within a gang of other enslaved men, the woman painting your nails or someone moving here for a better life being forced into prostitution.
In the Evening Standard’s exposé last month about slavery on our streets, it was noted that Londoner’s should be ‘reasonably sure there is a brothel with trafficked women within two or three miles of where they live’. That’s a walk of under an hour – probably less than your daily journey to work.
As a business in the UK, our main objectives to fight this modern day atrocity are outlined below:
1. Employing survivors of trafficking
Beulah’s ready-to-wear collection is made in London, and a proportion of the silks for each season’s collection are hand screen printed by a charity called Women’s Interlink Foundation, based in Kolkata, in association with Key To Freedom. These women have been rehabilitated and reintegrated into society and provided with a sustainable livelihood.
Additionally our canvas bags, otherwise known as our ‘Bag for Love’ are made by the women at Freeset, a fair trade business based in Kolkata, India. They are dedicated to helping trafficked women and vulnerable women who have ended up in the sex trade. They work to provide them with a steady income, a bank account and the chance to build a new life free from abuse.
2. Raising public awareness
Public understanding and awareness of the realities of human trafficking are key in helping to fight it. The more people are aware of what is happening in their communities and neighbourhoods the more likely it is the police and authorities will be alerted and slaves rescued. To learn more click here
How To Identify Victims:
● Is the victim in possession of a passport, identification or travel documents? Are these documents in possession of someone else?
● Does the victim act as if they were instructed or coached by someone else? Do they allow others to speak for them when spoken to directly?
● Was the victim recruited for one purpose and forced to engage in some other job? Was their transport paid for by facilitators, whom they must pay back through providing services?
● Does the victim receive little or no payment for their work? Is someone else in control of their earnings?
● Was the victim forced to perform sexual acts?
● Does the victim have freedom of movement?
● Has the victim or family been threatened with harm if the victim attempts to escape?
● Is the victim under the impression they are bonded by debt, or in a situation of dependence?
● Has the victim been harmed or deprived of food, water, sleep, medical care or other life necessities?
● Can the victim freely contact friends or family? Do they have limited social interaction or contact with people outside their immediate environment?
3. Using Business as a force for good
Our aim at Beulah is to help survivors in any way we can, and we have made sure that 10% of profits from sales of all products in our collection are donated to The Beulah Trust, with dedicated products for the UN Blue Heart Campaign.
‘7 years ago we went on a trip that changed our lives and opened our eyes to modern slavery. Living in an aftercare home in India with women who had been rescued from the sex trade, we heard first hand accounts of the realities of this atrocity. What gave us hope was seeing the complete restoration and transformation that could happen when you provided these women with employment and a chance to build a life free from abuse. And so Beulah was born, with a vision to use fashion as a vehicle to impact change and business as a force for good’ – Lavinia Brennan co-founder of Beulah London
Join us in fighting slavery today.
With love, N & L x
*according to the Global Slavery Index Report 2016