My friend Kristi Griem introduced me to an incredible organization that she works with, Freeset, and asked me to be a part of their 12 Days of Freedom.
Freeset is in business for freedom. Freedom from human trafficking. Freeset is a fair trade business that sells bags and t-shirts, made by women freed from human trafficking in Calcutta, India. The women are able to have a job with dignity, making products, instead of being the product. Every woman receives three times the wage they would receive in line (the prostitution line), learn to read and write, daycare for their children, have medical insurance and retirement benefits.
But don’t take my word for it. Meet Dali.
“I like to spend time here,” Dali says of working at Freeset. Her start with the business was a little unconventional. Initially, Freeset had been unable to employ any more women when she approached them for a job. But, undeterred Dali and a friend continued to turn up for work, “For the first five months I worked without salary. The other women collected some money from their salaries and gave it to me. I thought, ‘These women work so hard by themselves and still they are paying us with their own money!’” That was nearly 10 years ago.
These days Dali can be found quietly clipping the excess thread off bags before they are packed. However, her most important responsibility is the twice-a-day routine of making sweet, milky tea for everyone in the factory.
She is thankful for the many ways her job at Freeset has improved her ability to deal with life’s ups and downs, “I endured many hardships, but working here has helped me to forget the pains of my life.” she says. “Working at Freeset has helped me a lot with running my family. My younger son has been through school. When my older son was in a serious car accident, the medical insurance provided through working at Freeset paid the expensive hospital bills. If I hadn’t had a job here I would have never been able to provide treatment to my son and my husband who has a heart condition.”