Around the globe, there are millions of victims of Human Trafficking, the practice of smuggling people across borders who are subsequently exploited as domestic workers, slave laborers and sex workers. Today, on, Human Rights day, we would like to tell you the uplifting story of the partnership between White Field Farm, a social enterprise and the HOPE Project, a non-profit working tirelessly to assist victims of human trafficking in the greater New York area.
Several months ago one of our Shokunin team members visited All Saints Greek Orthodox Monastery out in eastern Long Island, where they discovered the monastery’s White Field Farm’s (WFF) social enterprise, founded by the nuns in 2012. WWF handcrafts natural body products and soy wax candles using high quality ingredients. The nuns design and hand-make the beautifully packaged soaps, lotions, candles, and balms. We fell in love with the products, but this is a story that goes far beyond a fledgling e-commerce business selling cool natural care products.
We were inspired and humbled to learn that White Field Farm devotes all profits to philanthropic initiatives and is committed to its partnership with the HOPE Project. The HOPE (Housing, Occupation, Potential, Empowerment) Project is a non-profit organization, bring healing to survivors of human trafficking on Long Island. Over the years there have been hundreds of cases of domestic abuse and sexual violence involving victims of human trafficking on Long Island, making it among the top 20 geographic areas in the US plagued by this issue. It is therefore crucial that trafficked survivors on Long Island have access to the services offered by the HOPE Project.
This January, the HOPE Project will be launching the "13 Campaign" to highlight that the average age of entry into the commercial sex trade in the United States is thirteen! You can follow their campaign on social media to learn more about this devastating issue, and fund their their goal to acquire a residence for survivors by 2018. This residence will be a "safe house" where survivors can live rent-free for two years and receive supporting services towards reaching independence. The HOPE Project relies on donations and their long term goal is to grow their mission through collaboration with government agencies, mission aligned organizations, and the mental-healthcare community to develop rehabilitative services for survivors.
The nuns from the All Saints Monastery told us the inspiring story of Saint Philothei of Athens, a widow from a wealthy family who became a nun. She established a convent that housed and educated young women who were forced to work in brothels, and taught them the skill of lace-making. The lace-making skills enabled those young women to make a decent living to support themselves and their families, and gave them HOPE for a better life. Similarly, the White Field Farm is providing occupational training to the women participants of the HOPE Project. The most immediate step for WFF is to hire a small number of local women beginning in early 2017 to work part-time.
Our Team is truly inspired by the passion and commitment of this small team of nuns. If you would like to support the White Field Farm and the HOPE Project, please visit their websites. This holiday season, you can choose the HOPE Project gift boxes – containing exquisite natural handmade soaps and lotions, and bring a little hope to survivors of human trafficking!