“…when you buy a Freeset product, you directly participate in a woman’s journey to freedom.”
Freeset, a social enterprise, is located in the most infamous sex district in Kolkata, India, where 10,000 women stand in line to sell their bodies. Freeset offers a way out of prostitution for these sex workers with alternative employment, medical treatment, health insurance, pension plan and a supportive community. Many were young girls trafficked from Bangladesh, Nepal, and rural India and forced into prostitution through abduction or being sold off by their poor families. Others are single mothers who had no other means to provide for their children.
The vision to see the 10,000 sex workers find freedom began in 1999 with Kerry and Annie Hilton, the founders. They moved from New Zealand to Kolkata with their four children. Freeset started with 20 women in 2001. Now, there are over 190 women on their way to new lives. By purchasing their jute and cotton bags, you are supporting these women and many more to come.
How can a 13 year old girl be kidnapped from her village and sold into prostitution, then drugged and raped by her first customer? Why is it that little girls are sacrificed and sold into the sex trade, so that their families can have money to survive? Or why should it be that mothers who desire to feed and raise their children have to sell their bodies to do so? E ven in poverty, it is only right for every human being to live in dignity and freedom. That is why Freeset dreams to transform the most infamous sex district in Kolkata into a safe community that respects the dignity of women and offers new opportunities to their children.
TESTIMONIES OF CHANGED LIVES
*Debi: “My brother and I grew up in a room where our mother entertained her customers. Becoming a sex worker was the only way she could provide for us. We stayed outside the room when the customer came. The constant flow of men coming in and out was disruptive to my studies. Later, men started asking for me as I grew older. I wanted to get married and leave but did not have any money for marriage. I saw Kerry around my neighborhood, and one day I asked if he can provide me with a job. Ever since I joined Freeset, I was able to save enough money to get married and provide financial help for my mother. Now, she does not need to serve many customers.”
*Name changed for privacy