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Fair Trade Jewelry and Ethical Fashion

How Sisterhood is Rescuing Women from Brothels in East Asia

by | Artisans

Ling, Artisan in North Asia_l

Read Time: 5 min.

Sisterhood Rescues Two Sisters

In the fall of 2018, Bay and Ling’s lives were forever changed by a sisterhood of strangers from around the world. For several months, a local team of community outreach volunteers visited Bay and Ling, along with other women in the brothel where they were working in East Asia.

The women from the outreach team shared their own personal stories of rescue, healing, and hope, as sex trafficking survivors. They offered Bay and Ling the opportunity to become part of their sisterhood of healing and hope by leaving the brothel and coming to work with them as Artisans.

Courage to Choose Change

To “outsiders”, this might seem like an easy decision. But for many of these women, fear, depression, low self-worth, and the severe mental and emotional effects of chronic trauma make it difficult for them to believe they could ever deserve or enjoy life outside of the world of sex trafficking.

As Artisans, Bay, Ling, and other sex-trafficking survivors are offered a safe home, trauma counseling, skills training, education, fellowship, and sisterhood with other women who’ve experienced and overcome similar circumstances.

The women encourage and support each other’s courage to choose change that requires them to invest in themselves. Each Artisan’s journey to healing is holistic, as she’s offered tools to help strengthen her physically, mentally, and emotionally.

New Beginnings

Together as sisters, Bay and Ling share how becoming part of our Trades of Hope sisterhood is helping them begin new lives with new hopes and dreams.

Ling, Artisan in East Asia

“Doing my job and being a part of a team has helped me find value and confidence in myself.

For the first time in my life, I have a job where I feel like I can tell people what I do for a living.”

– Ling

Bay, Artisan in East Asia

“I love having the opportunity to improve and learn new things every day.

I’ve gained a new confidence in myself. I’m able to do things now that I never thought I could do.

It’s the first time in my life when I feel like I can tell people what my job is.”

– Bay

New Confidence

Many of these women have endured a lifetime of mental and emotional neglect and abuse in addition to the physical trauma their bodies have experienced in the brothels. Some were trafficked by relatives they trusted. Others were abandoned without education or skills to survive on their own.

Many of the women suffer from a deep sense of helplessness and dependence. Since leaving the brothel to begin new lives as Artisans, Bay and Ling have discovered new confidence and self-worth.

New Futures

Without education or skills training, leaving the brothel is not enough to help sex trafficking survivors begin new lives. They need opportunities to learn and grow through education. But the effects of trauma often slow down their ability to absorb new information. The Artisans’ instructors are specially trained to teach and mentor trauma survivors, allowing each woman to learn and grow at the pace her personal healing allows.

“Since becoming an Artisan, I’ve had the opportunity to take so many classes. I’m taking classes in literacy, basic computers, and math. 

Someday I’ll take the Microsoft classes and earn certificates through this program. 

I’m excited to learn more!” – Ling

“My teachers are all very patient and loving. They always give me feedback and support when they see I’m struggling with something, and they’re quick to help me continue to improve. I’m really excited to have the opportunity to learn more… and dream of learning a specific skill set I’m passionate about.” – Bay

New Normal

As they become part of a worldwide sisterhood of women who encourage and support each other, many survivors of East Asia’s brothels experience real love for the first time in their lives.

Even though counseling, job skills, and education might help them overcome poverty and create new lives that function and feel better… financially… without meaningful fellowship and authentic relationships built on love and trust, these women cannot heal and overcome their pasts… relationally.

The majority of our Artisan partners in East Asia insist that the most impactful benefit they’ve received is love.

New Hope

Empowered Survivors of Sex Trafficking

“The most significant experience I’ve had so far was when I first became an Artisan, and everyone was so friendly and welcoming. It felt like it was their job to love us!” – Ling

 “I’ve been incredibly touched by the atmosphere. Everyone is really kind and encouraging.

I’m safe here and enjoy working here very much!” – Bay

Your Impact

Bay, Ling, and other survivors of East Asia’s brothels have inspired and created many beautiful and unique ethically made designs for Trades of Hope. Every purchase of Trades of Hope jewelry from East Asia provides funding for outreach volunteers to continue to offer survivors of sex trafficking new lives with safe housing, education, skills training, healthcare, counseling, and more.

When you choose to purchase these fair-trade products, you’re choosing to support a sisterhood that rescues women from brothels and offers them opportunities to experience healing and hope.

UPDATE! – Trades of Hope is excited to celebrate this update from our Artisan partners in East Asia about sisters, Bay and Ling:

Bay and Ling, two sisters, recently graduated from our program and returned to their hometown to be near their family and start a new chapter in their lives. Ling and her daughter are now practicing and studying English together, while Bay and her husband are currently working on setting up a business together.

More East Asia Blogs

Click on each photo below to discover more about our Artisan partners and products in EAST ASIA.

Bai, Artisan in East Asia

Bai’s Story of Hope in East Asia

Women Rescued from Brothels in East Asia

Fashion as a Force for Good, Chenny’s, Li Ya’s, & Hong Fay’s Stories of Hope in East Asia

Fay’s Story of Hope in East Asia

Helping Women in East Asia Heal From the Trauma of Sex Trafficking

Helping Women in East Asia Heal From the Trauma of Sex Trafficking

Lan, Artisan in East Asia

Lan’s Story of Hope in East Asia

Mae, Artisan in East Asia

Restoring Hope to Victims of Sex Trafficking – Mae’s Story of Hope in East Asia

Fay, Artisan in North Asia

Stories of Hope in East Asia – Trades of Hope

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Kathy Thomas

Kathy Thomas

Kathy Thomas is an inspirational writer with a passion for helping women discover and celebrate their unique gifts and abilities. Kathy is part of the Communications Team at Trades of Hope focusing on Artisan advocacy.