By: Claudia-Arthur Flatz, UNODC
As part of its efforts to forge partnerships with the private sector, the UNODC Blue Heart Campaign against Human Trafficking has entered into a joint funding and promotional venture with luxury fashion label Beulah London, a socially conscious brand which, through the manufacture of its fashion items, works with women who have escaped the sex trade in India.
The UNODC Blue Heart Campaign calls on all sectors of society to join the fight against what is a violation of human rights. The campaign aims to raise awareness of human trafficking as a modern form of slavery that exploits millions of people around the world and to prevent more people from becoming victims.
In October 2011, Beulah London showcased three exclusive items in its autumn/winter show featuring the Blue Heart, an international symbol against human trafficking: A silk georgette Sabtiri Dress, a silk Shibani Scarf and a cotton Beulah bag. The items were made by women from two Beulah-supported projects in India – Freeset and Openhand.
Freeset, based in Kolkata, provides more than 150 women who have escaped the sex trade and who have been rescued from being trafficked with the opportunity to make canvas bags, which are given to Beulah customers with each purchase. In Delhi, Openhand employs 100 women who have escaped trafficking and the sex trade, including some who are HIV-positive. The women print silks and make pieces such as scarves and kaftans. For their work, the women receive a salary, health insurance, childcare and textile training to develop their skills.
For every dress, scarf or bag sold, a proportion of the profits goes to the small grants facility of the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Human Trafficking which helps NGOs and other grassroots organizations which support victims of human trafficking around the globe. The Fund, which is managed by UNODC, was officially launched in 2010 by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
With the help of the fashion media, including Vogue UK, Grazia magazine and Hello magazine, sales were boosted enormously. Moreover, to further provide visibility to the campaign, UNODC enlisted the support of various celebrities to wear the items at the opening night to launch the products and beyond, including Pippa Middleton.
In addition to the partnership with Beulah London, UNODC has partnered with Backes and Strauss, manufacturers of luxury watches and jewelry – also under the Blue Heart Campaign umbrella. For example, The Victoria Blue Heart Watch has been crafted especially for UNODC, and for every watch sold, a percentage of the profit will benefit the UN Voluntary Trust Fund For Victims of Human Trafficking.
“For each euro or dollar collected, we can help victims of human trafficking, such as the Nepali children who have been sold to perform in circuses in India, we can provide legal and psycho-social support to child victims of trafficking, and we can raise awareness among the Kenyan public of the issues related to child trafficking and children’s rights, as well as strengthening the legal framework in Kenya and in Africa with regard to counter- trafficking”, says Claudia Arthur-Flatz, who has been managing the cause-related marketing campaign.
For more information on the Blue Heart Campaign, please visit http://www.unodc.org/blueheart/ or contact Claudia Arthur-Flatz, External Relations Officer and Private Sector Focal Point, UNODC.