Right now, as you read this, as many as 27 million people around the world are victims of human trafficking… and the number rises every year. Many times these victims are young women, lured far from their homes by the promise of steady, high-paying work at respectable organizations. Once they arrive at their destination, however, their dreams of a better future are exchanged for anonymity and fear living as sex slaves or forced laborers. They are degraded, threatened, abused, and feel that they are completely alone.
But they are not alone. There is a growing awareness of human trafficking and consequently the urge to act. One woman who chose to take action in the face of this injustice is jewelry designer and entrepreneur, Jessica Hendricks. While visiting Cambodia, she discovered its incredibly rich, ancient culture and how much of it had been destroyed by war and genocide. There she also learned about the reality of human trafficking and the challenges Cambodia faces to eradicate this widespread problem.
“I decided to start The Brave Collection to take a stance against human trafficking, while providing job opportunities to artisans who make our bracelets by hand — celebrating and reinterpreting Cambodian culture for a contemporary customer,” Jessica said.
Yes, bracelets. Initially discouraged by the hesitancy of those around her to discuss such a sobering topic as human trafficking, Jessica continued to search for a way to bridge the gap between her world in New York City and the world she experienced in Cambodia. Eventually she came up with the idea of hiring highly skilled Khmer artisans from underprivileged backgrounds to create beautiful and stylish bracelets, with a large portion of the proceeds going towards the fight against human trafficking. Bam. People started talking.
Inspired by Nicholas Kristof, Sheryl WuDunn and Somaly Mam, Jessica’s dedication to the cause has led The Brave Collection to be featured by Huffington Post, Teen Vogue, Half the Sky, and many more. It seems people simply needed a ray of hope and the knowledge that they could take part in the fight. While still a heartbreaking issue, with trailblazers like Jessica Hendricks leading the fight using accessible, creative methods, it is possible to envision an end to human trafficking.
Jessica has huge dreams for the future of The Brave Collection, “We want to ignite a global community of dreamers, freedom-fighters, artists and change-makers, uniting East and West and planting the seeds of change.”
To this end, Jessica encourages everyone to utilize their personal passion, talent, and network to take a stance in a way that is organic and meaningful to them personally. She shares her own path, saying, “I love fashion and grew up with my mother in the jewelry business, so I am working to make a difference in a way that is exciting for me, through a medium I understand and am passionate about. We all have our strengths and our passions, we need to challenge ourselves to use these talents to tell a deeper story.”
We at Sueño Doc Films honor the efforts and vision of Jessica Hendricks and The Brave Collection. The next time you are searching for a meaningful gift keep them in mind, because each bracelet made is a job opportunity, and with each bracelet that finds a wrist a donation is made to fight human trafficking.
The Brave Collection‘s new fall line is out now! YOU can help support the fight against human tracking by purchasing your very own Brave bracelet. Enter the code “Year33” to receive 10% off your order and Brave will make a $5 donation to YEAR 33’s launch!