March’s Social Impact Feature: UNCHAINED Fashion
UNCHAINED Fashion to launch Novel, an ethical clothing line to fight human trafficking
Nearly 21 million people are victims of forced labor, according to the International Labour Organization, 4.5 million of whom are victims of forced sexual exploitation. In Ohio, 3,072 children between ages 12 and 14 are targeted annually for human trafficking.
Following college, Felicia’s Kalan (Co-Founder of UNCHAINED) spent time in Calcutta, India with Free-Set, an organization that employs trafficking survivors. When Felicia arrived in Ohio, her degree in Political Science and International Relations led her to the Ohio House of Representatives, where she served as a Legislative Aide for the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee. During that time Ohio passed its first human trafficking legislation in Ohio—House Bill 262.
UNCHAINED Fashion Show
In 2011, Felicia and her husband, Andy Kalan, wanted to raise awareness about human trafficking. Together with Stephanie Catani (Co-Founder of UNCHAINED) and Season 5 Project Runway designer Korto Momolu, they created a collection combined with a script that resulted in a very powerful story.
In 2012, the first UNCHAINED Fashion Show at The Ohio State University raised $15,000 for area survivors of human trafficking. The show is divided into three acts: innocence, violation and restoration. The UNCHAINED Fashion show expresses recurring themes of a survivor’s life—sexual abuse as a child, a boyfriend preying on vulnerabilities, isolation, drugs, physical violence. The show concludes with law enforcement and community intervention. Statistics are shown on the screen followed by a discussion.
Gaining traction in the fight against human trafficking
The success of the first show set UNCHAINED in motion to generate more awareness and education for at-risk populations. They developed curriculum, as well as an app, unchained#itendswithme (available in iTunes and Google Play), to empower the community in the fight against human trafficking. In 2015, UNCHAINED’s social impact has raised awareness at six community events reaching more than 1,300 community members, training them on signs to look for and ways to report the crime of human trafficking, and performed two school events reaching 750 students. Also in 2015, UNCHAINED launched a bracelet sold through The Limited, which resulted in $32,000 to raise awareness and seed the UNCHAINED Survivor Scholarship Program. Two scholarships were awarded in 2016.
What’s next is Novel
Because law enforcement intervenes at a point when victims have been trafficked since the time they were 12 years of age, developing basic life skills is critical. They struggle to find employment. In April 2016, UNCHAINED will launch Novel, an ethical clothing line that fights human trafficking by employing survivors and those at risk. The company will be based in Cleveland, Ohio, and will sell its clothing online.
[button link=”#https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/novel-wear-a-better-story–5#/” color=”silver” newwindow=”yes”] Support Novel by contributing to their crowdfunding campaign.[/button]
Central Ohio’s social enterprises dedicated to creating positive change for women and victims of human trafficking
CSED maintains a directory of social enterprises throughout Central Ohio. We are in the process of developing at-a-glance profiles for each social enterprise, intended to inform consumers, funders, impact investors and individual donors of investment-worthy causes. Here are the social enterprises we’ve identified to date, whose focus is creating social impact for women and victims of human trafficking. We encourage you to learn more, consider supporting these organizations, or inform us of additional social enterprises that share this focus.