New Zealand Couple Moves to India to Upend the Business of Slavery

New Zealand Couple Moves to India to Upend the Business of Slavery

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sewing in Calcutta-FreeSetBagsFreeset organic cotton bags are at the heart of a business set up to abolish the enslaving trade of prostitution for India’s poorest women and girls.

In 1999, New Zealanders Kerry and Annie Hilton left their country with their four children to work with the poor in Calcutta. When they moved into their new house, they discovered that in the evening the neighborhood turned into a sex-trafficing district. As they started to get to know their neighbors, ideas began forming about creating a business that could employ the woman and restore their self-esteem.

Each bag tells a story of one woman’s journey to freedom. She used to stand with 6,000 other prostitutes in North Calcutta. She didn’t choose her profession; it chose her because of her poverty.

She still lives in the same area, but instead of selling her body she creates Freeset Bags.

Now she has choices — the choice to work normal hours for decent pay, to re-establish her dignity in her community and to learn to read and write. Now her daughter won’t have to stand in the street selling her body like her mother started to.

Freeset began manufacturing bags made from jute, a natural fiber found in India, but most importantly, the working environment is supportive of workers, unlike sweatshop operations run by some multi-national corporations.

Freeset has established markets throughout Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand. The styles of bags range from messenger bags to gift bags to carry bags and the line has added tee shirts and more.

By purchasing a Freeset bag, you become part of the story of freedom.

Check them out at: www.freesetglobal.com

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