Fair Trade Jewelry and Ethical Fashion

Stories of Hope in East Asia – Trades of Hope

by | Artisans, Stories of Hope

Stories of Hope in East Asia - Trades of Hope - Fay

Read Time: 5 min.

Women in East Asia’s Brothels Are Searching For Hope

In East Asia, extreme poverty encourages sexual exploitation of women in brothels. These women want to provide for their families but have few options. Trades of Hope is partnering in East Asia to help rescue women out of brothels and provide sex trafficking survivors with holistic care, dignified income, and hope.

Bee’s Story of Hope

I worked in a brothel with an abusive owner where I was constantly surrounded by violence. Artisan outreach teams visited me regularly to offer me the opportunity to experience freedom through a job at their jewelry workshop. Now I work with my older sister, Lay Lay, who also escaped the brothels.

In this workshop, I’m a part of a healthy work environment where people are kind and respectful to one another.

I’ve learned that people can be honest. I love that I have many friendships here! I love that my coworkers celebrate my life and achievements!

Before joining this Artisan community, I’d never had a birthday party and was never celebrated as an individual. Now my birthday is celebrated each year!

Bee, Artisan in East Asia

“My life has become very rich and one that I love!”  – Bee, Artisan in East Asia

Mae Lee’s Story of Hope

When I was 15 years old, my mother needed money, so I was trafficked to Greece. I worked there for six years. I was finally helped and returned back to my home country after six incredibly painful years. 

Mae Lee, Artisan in East Asia

However, I had no idea what to do when I arrived.

With only a primary school education, it was extremely difficult to find a job.

This Artisan community stepped in and offered me a new beginning.

I came to this Artisan community with no confidence in myself, but now, I take pride in my work.

At this workshop, I know who I am, and I feel a sense of purpose.

“I have a community that is like family to me and I have been able to pursue dreams that I once thought were impossible.” – Mae Lee, Artisan in East Asia

*Trades of Hope is excited to celebrate this update from our Artisan partners in East Asia about Mae Lee:

Mae Lee has recently started studying product photography. Mae Lee, along with June and Zang are responsible for taking all of our product photos on our Artisan community’s website. Mae Lee and June recently ran their first solo model shoot! They did a wonderful job directing and encouraging the models, and took beautiful photos.

Mae Lee got married and now has a little girl!

Loni’s Story of Hope

I came to this Artisan community in the spring of 2019 after the Community Services teams visited me in the brothels for almost a year. I was nervous that I was too old and not educated enough to work. The women who visited me regularly encouraged me, so I came and decided to give it a try.

But soon after I joined this Artisan community, my son became sick and was hospitalized with tuberculosis. I left to go take care of him until he was better.

While I was with my son, members of the Community Services team texted me often to check in on me and my son. I felt very loved.

When I came back to our headquarters’ city, I returned to the office where there was a job waiting for me.

After all of the setbacks I’ve faced, I was nervous to come back, but I am glad I made the choice to start again. Since coming here, I’ve had the opportunity to study literacy, math and computers!

Loni, Artisan in North Asia

“I’ve made new friends and even brought a friend out from the brothels to work here!”

Loni, Artisan in East Asia

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

Ling, Artisan in East Asia

How Sisterhood is Rescuing Women from Brothels in East Asia

Lan, Artisan in East Asia

Lan’s Story of Hope in East Asia

Lulu, Artisan in East Asia

Lulu’s Story of Hope – Rescued from the Brothels of East Asia

Mae, Artisan in East Asia

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

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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.