Philanthropy | For Goodness’ Sake

How a fashion brand won praise for combating human trafficking

The bag that gives Indian sex-trade workers a real alternative

How a fashion brand won praise for combating human trafficking

May 04 2011
Sibéal Pounder

New clothing label Beulah London’s début collection of on-trend, boldly coloured silk dresses impresses on the fashion front, but the brand has also garnered praise from the United Nations, which recently awarded founders Lavinia Brennan and Natasha Rufus Isaacs a commendation for their efforts to combat human trafficking. The pair work with Freeset, a fair trade organisation based in Calcutta next to the red-light district of Sonagachi, to produce the Beulah bag, a canvas tote used as packaging and also sold individually (pictured, £10), with 50 per cent of the proceeds going to anti-human-trafficking causes.

According to human rights charity Dalit Freedom Network, there are an estimated 3m prostitutes in India (80 per cent are in the trade against their will, and 1.2m are children). Freeset employs more than 170 women who have escaped the sex trade. “The women are provided with fair wages, health insurance and training schemes, as well as a commitment to sustainable employment,” explains Brennan. “We want to ensure Freeset continues to progress.”