A huge misconception in society today is that sex trafficking is an issue that is only faced by foreign countries. In reality, people in our very own cities are being trafficked and thus contribute to an estimated $150 billion industry. The targeted age group is under 18, specifically between the ages of 11 and 14.
To help combat this growing industry, Unchained, a non-profit organization, was started in Columbus, OH. Their objective is to feature a fashion line designed by season 5 Project Runway designer, Korto Momolu, to educate the public on the extremity of sex slavery. They create abolitionists out of high schools, universities, local businesses and organizations and have demonstrated tremendous impact.
The fashion shows tell a story of a survivor from bondage to liberation through models and a narrator. The models are students. All women, despite her weight, height, and skin tone, are encouraged to take part in the show.
I had the opportunity to shadow the people that coordinate and direct the show, and it was incredibly eye-opening. Before the models took on the runway, one of the founders said, “There is so much more to you than your beautiful hair and makeup. You are worth it.” Not only is this an inspiring and transformative experience for the viewers, but also for the people who are directly involved in the organization.
Unchained also has a Survivor Scholarship fund that empowers individuals that have been removed from the sex trafficking industry. Education plays a pivotal role in empowering survivors and translates as an opportunity to be financially independent and to maintain a career in place of prostitution. It resembles a paramount shift in the lives of these individuals.
If you would like to learn more about Unchained and how you can get involved, I highly recommend you check out their website. This is only the beginning for this organization. Awareness and education are both so powerful, and it’s neat to see this organization using fashion to establish a purpose in advocating for such a prominent and important issue. It is imperative that we take advantage of the tools we have access to to change the lives of people all over the world – even those in our own backyards.