From our Founder and President, Kristin Keen (Updated 01-11-18)
I am sitting across from fellow business owners at an entrepreneurship convention and am telling them about our work. I say, “I work with survivors of human trafficking.” The owners all shake their heads and say, “Wow, good work is being done at Rethreaded. Keep it up.”
I proceed to ask them, “What is human trafficking?” They give me a nervous look and say “I don’t actually know what it is. But I know it's bad.”
I was thankful for my peers’ honest answer and I feel like their answers are closer to what people actually know about human trafficking. We know it's bad, we just don’t know what it is. Some of us have seen movies like Taken or images like this:
All of these images represent a narrow perspective of human trafficking but we want to raise awareness about the realities we have found from doing this work day to day and from survivors sharing their experience. With this knowledge, we can work as a community to stop it.
Five Truths You Need to Know About Human Trafficking:
1. Human Trafficking is the exploitation of another human’s vulnerabilities for the sake of profit.
This can take the form of sex trafficking, and these are the survivors Rethreaded works with. According to the US Government, sex trafficking, is an act in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age. People are making lots of money making people perform sexual acts under force, fraud, and coercion, in fact, it’s a 150 billion dollar a year industry.
The situations that sex trafficking victims face vary dramatically. Many victims become romantically involved with someone who then forces or manipulates them into prostitution. Others are lured in with false promises of a job, such as modeling or dancing. Some are forced to sell sex by their parents or other family members. They may be involved in a trafficking situation for a few days or weeks, or may remain in the same trafficking situation for years.
2. Human Trafficking can happen to any person at any age.
Most people have in their head that anyone who is being trafficked is a child. Yes, it is illegal for a child to be exploited through force, fraud or coercion, but it is also illegal to traffick anyone over the age of 18. Victims of sex trafficking can be U.S. citizens, foreign nationals, women, men, children, and LGBTQ individuals. Vulnerable populations are frequently targeted by traffickers, including runaway and homeless youth, as well as victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, war, or social discrimination. The truth is that trafficking can happen to anyone who is vulnerable. At Rethreaded, our employees range in age from nineteen to fifty-four, and we have employed men and women survivors.
3. Human Trafficking does not mean that a person is being moved around.
Trafficking is defined as the deal or trade in something illegal. This means if a person is being sold as a commodity, they are a victim of human trafficking even if they have never left the city they were born in. Sex trafficking occurs in a range of venues including fake massage businesses, via online ads or escort services, in residential brothels, on the street or at truck stops, or at hotels and motels.
4. Survivors don’t often identify themselves as victims until they are out and receiving healing.
Human trafficking breaks down a person mentally, physically, and emotionally. Sex traffickers use violence, threats, lies, debt bondage, and other forms of coercion to compel adults and children to engage in commercial sex acts against their will. The traffickers' job is to make it seem like she had done something wrong, she is choosing this lifestyle and it is all her fault that all these bad things are happening. When a woman is able to leave the situation and regain what has been taken she can clearly see how she was exploited. It's a process that we see at Rethreaded over and over again.
5. This is not just a women’s issue. This is an “us” issue and only together can we stop it.
The exploitation of people by the sex trade industry is driven by demand to buy sex. Traffickers exploit people so they can make a profit. 99% of the buyers in this study were men. We believe that a man’s journey into buying sex is just as broken as a women’s journey is in selling sex. We need men who will stand up and be a voice to other men about what is really going on. We need each other to make sure that we can stop the exploitation of people.
At Rethreaded we want to provide hope to other survivors, to our community and our world. It takes us all.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.” -Margaret Mead
Statistics and facts about sex trafficking were found through Polaris, a leader in the global fight to eradicate modern slavery.
This blog was part of the Breaking Misconceptions Blog Series. To learn more check out the rest of the series.
"You don't look like a survivor..."
Why Getting Out of the Sex Trade Wasn't the Hardest Part
Why She Isn't a Prostitute
The 5 Worst Things to Say to a Survivor
It's been a very exciting couple of weeks around here since the Rethreaded x Southwest Airlines Launch Party and we have been selling the new products as fast as we can make them!
We celebrate because we all have been part of watching a dream come to life and change lives ...that started on a napkin.
It’s possible because you choose to shop here.
It’s possible because you choose to donate your resources here.
It’s possible because all of you invest your time and talents into our business.
It because you all have chosen to surround our entire Rethreaded staff with love and support.
It’s you, the friends and family, who have stood with each of us through some really low lows and some really amazing highs.
It’s you, current board members and, you, the past board members who spent hours and hours pouring over ideas and strategy and advocating for us.
It's you, the volunteers, who sort through donated t-shirts, clean leather, who sit on the advisory council.
It's you, the ones that have opened up your homes to host a party that have carried our message of hope to the world!
It’s you, our government officials, that have chosen to embrace that things can be different. You have chosen to start to turn the tide so that women are now given services instead of being treated like criminals.
And survivors, this is all because of you. It's because of your grit and your strength because you choose to go with your courage. It's your willingness to pave a way for your sister that is still trapped in the trade. It’s you choosing to do the hard work of walking through your trauma and not quitting when it gets hard. It’s because every time you wanted to give up you didn’t. It’s you for choosing to use the hurt in your past to transform the world with love for the future.
Its because you are the most powerful and amazing human beings I have ever gotten the honor of knowing. Its because of you, you inspire me, our board, our volunteers, our advocates, your family and friends, our city, our world to believe that lives can change.
And you Southwest. You are now part of the amazing transformation that happens here at Rethreaded. You are modeling to the world what happens when companies go the extra mile to make a couple different decisions that aren’t necessarily the easiest or most convenient because you know that good will come of it. You, Southwest are modeling to other companies the truth that business is one of the most powerful agents for change in our world.
Thank you, Southwest for choosing to do business differently. Thank you, Southwest for taking a chance on a company based on HOPE and Love. Thank you for taking a chance on a company that started on a napkin.
A HUGE thank you to all of the media agencies sharing our story and spreading this amazing news:
River City Live | Rethreaded's new partnership with Southwest Airlines
WJXT News 4 Jax, The Morning Show | Rethreaded teaming up with Southwest Airlines
WJCT First Coast Connect with Melissa Ross | 11/28/2017: Duval School Suspensions; Michael Wiley- Monument Road; Courtney Lewis; #GivingTuesday (46:00)
Jacksonville Business Journal | Southwest Airlines partners with Jax nonprofit to recycle old seats
WTLV First Coast News | Southwest Airlines partners with Rethreaded to help fight human trafficking
Jacksonville.com | Nonprofit Rethreaded gets boost from Southwest Airlines
Jacksonville Daily Record | You should know ... Rethreaded Inc. founder Kristin Keen
Stay tuned. This is just the beginning. We fully expect the phone to continue to ring and more lives to change.
📷 : Jesse and Lex Wedding Co.
A note from our founder and president Kristin Keen:
Around here my phone is always buzzing with amazing news! One minute I'm getting a text from one of our ladies,"Good morning boss lady! I just wanted to thank you for helping me make my dreams come true! Rethreaded has reignited my ability to dream!"
A few weeks later I'm getting a phone call that Southwest Airlines would like us to be a part of an international upcycle initiative featuring Rethreaded x Southwest products our ladies have made out of donated southwest leather seats. "This campaign involves the U.S. launch being held at Rethreaded in November, a two-minute promo video that we would make for you (see below!), and your Rethreaded x Southwest products being sold on our Southwest website. We have sent the word out to the top 100 news outlets in the country. You can expect national coverage. Is this something rethreaded would be interested in?"
I pause for a few seconds and then passionately said "Yes!!!"
The idea for Rethreaded began on a napkin and now here we are six years later having provided over 46,000 hours of work, directly impacting over 2,000 women internationally, employing 15 survivors, and advancing six of those into leadership roles in the company. And now a part of an international Southwest upcycling initiative with our Rethreaded x Southwest product being sold on their website.
And all this is possible because of YOU! YOU chose to shop here, donate resources, time and talents and invest in our business. YOU chose to surround our entire staff with love. YOU chose to believe that this simple idea could CHANGE LIVES. Thank you, Rethreaded advocates and Southwest Airlines for taking a chance on a company based on HOPE and LOVE.
Help us spread the word by liking, commenting or sharing our Facebook post! And if you're feeling crazy maybe all three!
Below is the official press release from Southwest Airlines featuring details about the materials they are upcycling and the awesome North American organizations they are collaborating with.
(Psst... Rethreaded featured on the top of page 2!)
A HUGE thank you to Grasshopper Global, co-creators of Southwest Airlines's Repurpose with Purpose program and our partners for the LUV Seat: Rethreaded product line.
"You can find me somewhere between inspiring others, working on myself, dodging negativity and slaying my goals." #rethreaded #womenempoweringwomen
At Rethreaded, we are a family! We wanted to take a moment to recognize our Leadership Team for all of the hard work they do to continue the mission and tell them that we appreciate them.
- Founder and President, Kristin Keen
"I love Kristin because she is creative, smart, fast thinking, and very compassionate. She puts everyone around her before herself. Her heart is pure. She believes in me!"
"I love Kristin because she gave me a chance to really be somebody and the passion that she has for what she is doing is remarkable."
- Director of Administration & Finance, Nikki Tubig-Foiles
"I love Nikki because she is not just my boss but a teacher. She is so supportive and not only cares about the job at hand but me as a person. She role models great leadership. I couldn't ask for a better boss."
"I love Nikki because she is easy going and patient. She always is ready to see the best in you."
- Director of Marketing, Ansley Busch
" I love Ansley because she always challenges me to keep moving forward. Even when things are difficult and I am ready to give up, she believes in me and celebrates in my victories."
" I love working for Ansley because she has such a huge heart for people and for the mission of Rethreaded. She dreams big and strives for excellence and works really hard to make Rethreaded look as good on the outside as it is on the inside."
Thank you all for being examples of exemplary leadership and selfless devotion!
Ready to order? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at (904)438-8109.
"My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor and some style."
- Maya Angelou
"Love recognizes no barriers, it jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope."
- Maya Angelou
"When you economically empower a woman, you are taking away the vulnerabilities that made her susceptible to exploitation in the first place."
- Kristin Keen
Founder and President of Rethreaded
Good Morning! August 22 2017, 0 Comments
"If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader." - John Quincy Adams