In support of Anti-Slavery Day on the 18th October, this weekend, this is an update on the charity element of Beulah. The Beulah Trust is at the very heart of our ethos in attempting to stop modern slavery in the form of human trafficking.
The Beulah Trust was founded in 2013 with the aim of supporting projects and initiatives that create sustainable livelihoods for victims of trafficking. Our Heart Canvas Bags ‘For Love’ are made by fairtrade business, Freeset, which offers employment to women trapped in the sex trade in Sonagacchi, the largest, most infamous sex district in Kolkata.
Freeset is dedicated to helping trafficked women and women who are regarded as at a high risk of ending up in the sex trade, by providing them with a steady income, a bank account and a chance to build a new life free from abuse. For fourteen years Freeset has been going and now employs 217 women who are in part, kept in employment due to the Beulah Trust and the business brought to them by our canvas bags.
These are some of the stories of the women who were victims of human trafficking at Freeset.
My mother’s life as a sex worker was very hard, but she did it for us (my brother and I). There were customers in our room all the time which was hard. Because of this, it was difficult to study when I was young. I had to stay outside and play in the street.
When I got older it got even worse because many customers wanted me. That’s when I thought, If I could just grow up and get married I could get away from this, but my mother didn’t have enough money to give me away in marriage. I couldn’t study because of the room situation so I thought it would be good if I could find a job, then I could have enough money for my own marriage.
At first I didn’t know, there was a factory at the Freeset building. I just played outside because of customers in our room. I saw Kerry, a staff member, coming and going until one day I asked him, if I could have a job and he said, “Of course, come with me.”
Freeset solved a lot of my problems. First I was able to get married and I didn’t need to stay in my room all day because I was away at work which was great. I got a salary, which meant that slowly I could save and I was able to get a bank account. I used my own money to get married. I was able to help my mother, so she didn’t need to have so many customers all the time.
I make bags, but I’m not very good at making the finished bag. I sew the sides and I also supervise tea breaks. Occasionally I go out to visit the brothels. I try to explain to girls that standing in line is not the only option, that they can work and be paid regular wages. They say, “But what can we do?” I tell them about the time I also stood on the line and about my journey to freedom with Freeset.
Now my life is good, sometimes I remember I was in the line, but now I’m not and I like that. Every day I come to work with my head held high – with no shame. I’ve given up the line, I have freedom and peace. I can talk with everyone and tell them that my life is healthy. If normal ladies come to visit my area, I can sit down and eat with them which I enjoy. I have found great freedom being able to mix with anyone.
I want to give God thanks. Jesus has taken me far from my old life. God has given me good things – health, peace, a good husband, good family. There’s no more fighting or arguments and my husband doesn’t drink anymore, he only eats! (giggles).
My husband died 10 years ago. I was trying to provide for my children. I worked for an NGO for 7 years without being paid. A friend said, “Freeset is starting and it is different”, so I went to work there. At that time I didn’t have anything. I didn’t have power, a meter or a fan.
* All names have been changed.
[quote] Freedom should never be a luxury [/quote]
If you would like to make a donation to the Beulah Trust there is an option to do so at the check out page when buying an item online.
Alternatively please call us on 020 7730 0775, we would be happy to take donations over the phone.