Business – a Force for Good?
Freedom Businesses are those created to provide the choice of freedom for people (particularly women) who have already been trafficked into the sex trade, or to provide opportunities for women at risk of being trafficked.
Freeset Bags & Apparel was established in Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) 14 years ago and through manufacturing exportable products has provided over 200 women with a way out of the trade they were trapped in.
Freeset Business Incubator is a young company whose aim is to multiply freedom businesses throughout the districts of West Bengal and beyond, to combat trafficking by targeting those identified as most vulnerable to the enticing tricks of the traffickers, by providing opportunities for well-paid work.
The drivers behind trafficking are complex but the underlying common factor is extreme poverty and for the women in this District (where the culture is male dominated), no man to provide for her. By offering skilled work, the freedom business provides the financial security that enable women to stay in the village where their family is and live a good life, instead of seeking work in far-away cities, which most often leads to slavery of some sort.
Freeset Fabrics, is Freeset’s newest business, being just over 1-year old (in Jan16), and is already providing employment for 25 people. The Company, based in the district of Murshidabad, currently manufactures hand-loom woven scarves for export around the world, and subject to sufficient demand for its beautiful scarves, aims to double its workforce in the next year.
Freedom businesses have to be profit-earning, commercial enterprises to be sustainable, but the profits do not generate wealth for their owners; instead the profits are ploughed back into the growth of the individual company or to help kick-start other freedom businesses.
The growth of freedom businesses in Murshidabad District, a place where trafficking is prevalent, is in its infancy and future growth depends on selling the products they make and funding for expansion, but also the right people, with a heart for helping the poor and oppressed, to set-up and manage these businesses.
There are numerous opportunities for people from all career backgrounds to join the Freeset team in West Bengal – check out the vacancies at http://freesetglobal.com/vacancies.html and http://freesetincubator.com/?page_id=70.
The jobs offered by Freeset allow women to experience financial independence and gain better access to both health care and educational opportunities for their children, as well as saving them from exploitation. You could even start you own business with Freeset’s assistance – say YES!