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Dressember: Help to Put an End to Human Trafficking and Slavery

My 2016 Campaign
Four years ago I was invited to participate in Dressember, a Fund- and Awareness-Raising event during December with the goal of fighting human trafficking and slavery in the United States and around the World.  I’ll admit that I agreed to participate for purely selfish reasons (a boutique that I like was hosting a team and offering weekly giveaways for participants), but that first year was so eye-opening that I committed to continuing my participation thereafter.  At the time, I did not have the foggiest idea of the real extent of this issue; I honestly barely even knew that there was still slavery or human trafficking, but over the years I’ve learned just how dramatic and wide-ranging of an issue it is. 

If you’ve read some of my other posts, you’ll know that I don’t like to get too mired down in the horrid details, but I can’t let this subject pass without sharing a little about the scope of this horrendous practice.  According to the United Nations and other NGO’s working in this arena, there are more than 40 million people currently trapped in slavery and human trafficking, of which about 1 in 4 are children, and 70% are women.  Human Trafficking generates an estimated $150 Billion per year and exists in every country, including every major US city.  The average cost to purchase a child as a slave is $50.00. 

In the face of this tragedy, the founder of Dressember was convicted to do something.  She knew she couldn’t individually save 40 Million people, but she could put her own efforts to work to raise money and awareness for some of the organizations actively fighting against human trafficking.  She decided to wear a dress each day in the month of December and use that as a conversation starter, telling people about this tragedy, inviting people to donate to support efforts to fight it, and to join her in dressing and sharing!  She picked a dress because the fashion industry is one of the worst offenders, utilizing slave labor to produce many of the brands we wear every day!  Since the first campaign in 2013, Dressember has raised over $7.5 Million!  Last year alone around 8000 people decided to join in the movement, raising over $2.4 Million from over 30,000 individual supporters!

I love participating in Dressember because I know that the money that I help raise goes directly to either fighting or preventing human trafficking and slavery or to rescue efforts and aftercare of the people who have been rescued!  Dressember identifies organizations who are working directly in the area, utilizing five criteria to determine if the organization is deserving of supporting grants.  Those five criteria are: (1) Collaboration: understand the complexity of the issue, who seek to empower others and work together toward ending this injustice; (2) Cultural Sensitivity: seek to understand and work with locals who understand an area’s nuances and culture; (3) Measurable Impact: proven to protect victims, increase convictions of perpetrators, and/or prevent the spread of slavery; (4) Innovation: uses creativity to dismantle a shrewd and manipulative industry; and (5) Sustainability: both structured to last and has a lasting impact.  This year, Dressember will be working with fifteen organizations around the world, each of which is committed to working to end human trafficking and satisfies the above criteria!

My 2017 Campaign!
The catch-phrase and hastag to Dressember is #YouCanDoAnythingInADress and I put that to the test last year, participating at 9 months pregnant, my son being born only 3 days after the end of the campaign!  Over the years, my personal Dressember campaigns have been greatly supported by my friends and family and in just three years I've been able to personally raise just under $13,000 in support!  This year, I've decided to take my campaign one step further and lead my own team

My 2018 Campaign, 9 Months Pregnant! 
My Dressember campaign will start in just six days and I’d love for you to join me!  Participation is simple: sign up online and wear a dress, or tie for guys, each day during the month of December, then invite your friends and family to follow your progress and support your efforts or even join us and participate themselves. 

If you’re interested but have any questions, please feel free to share them in the comments below or contact me through my campaign page! I hope to see you there!

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