In 2009 I was exposed to a developing (third world) country. I went on a trip at 17 years of age with a group to Thailand, Laos, Myanmar (Burma) and Poipet, Cambodia. I was aware of some of the injustices in these countries but it’s never the same until you see it with your own eyes.
I saw beggars, 12 months old to 12 years old on the streets seeking money to then pay back to their trafficker. Young Thai women standing on the streets at night forced to sell themselves for sex for the benefit of their trafficker who has threatened, drugged and beaten them. This started to stir in me a heart for justice and seeing people given a chance and set free.
In 2014 I was educated on sex trafficking at a Women’s conference. I was completely wrecked. I could not even begin to imagine what it was that victims would have to endure. They shared stories of women servicing 40-100 men in one day. That alone is horrific but to make it even worse, they are usually malnourished, drugged, beaten, forced to have abortions and threatened. Children as young as 18 months old were also being sold for sex.
There were lots of emotions raging through my mind. All I could do was put my hand up and say, “What can I do to help bring this to an end.”
I also had an incredible teacher in high school, Mrs Moore, who educated us on sweatshops and ethical fashion. I believe this planted the seed and I am so thankful for that.
So fast forward 7 years, I have been volunteering with A21, an incredible organisation whose mission is to abolish slavery everywhere, forever. A21 seek to reach the vulnerable, rescue the victims and restore the survivor.
I have had the pleasure of being the in-house designer for A21 Australia. When we have events or are needing new resource created for Australia specific events, I have been able to use my creativity to help create a strong and appealing brand within Australia. I know that what I am doing makes a difference. We can’t underestimate each part that everyone plays as it creates a way for victims to be rescued.
As part of my involvement with A21, I have had the pleasure of meeting incredible people who give everything to fight against slavery! The Be Hers team have created an amazing initiative for women to raise awareness and funds. Hosting beautiful evenings for them to attend with their girlfriends and family. The night is fun, pretty, involves delicious food and includes the opportunity to shop their own ethical clothing range, Dream Free which gives 100% of profits to supporting organisations including A21 on the ground! What I love about what the team does with Be Hers is they are inspiring and empowering these women with stories of survivors and the realities of human trafficking while also raising funds to support rescue projects. Truly inspiring and reminds me that we really are better together!
Human trafficking is something I will always have a passion to fight against. Physical and spiritual freedom are the biggest game changers when it comes to bringing heaven to earth!
I encourage you to consider what part you can play in making a difference in this world if you haven’t thought about it before. We can all do something.
WRITTEN BY SAM LEENMAN