Empowered Employment for Survivors of Sex Trafficking

When Tabea Oppliger learned about human and sex trafficking, she knew she needed to do something to help. Her company kite.pride employs and empowers survivors of this industry, and raises awareness to inspire change.

Video Transcript

Tel Aviv, Israel.

Tabea Oppliger: Sometimes, we think that our purpose in life is so much further than it actually is; it’s right in front our feet. It’s what we’re passionate about.

When Tabea first learned about human trafficking, she knew she had to take action. So she started a company to employ and empower survivors of the sex industry.

Tabea: When I heard about human trafficking, it triggered something in my heart, and I thought, “What? People bought and sold as slaves, and that still exists today, and I don’t know anything about it?”

kite.pride creates designer bags from discarded surf kites.

Tabea: The more I talked about it, the more people joined my idea and said, “You’re right! Wow! Why isn’t anyone doing anything?”

So this is a social business. It’s a safe work environment for men and women who were exploited in the sex industry; former prostitutes, but also victims of human trafficking, and it is job rehabilitation for them. It is reintegration into the normal workforce.

People are catching on with the whole idea of, “I’m going to give my kite instead of trashing it.” Again, we work with people, who, instead of trashing them — instead of them feeling so devalued of where they came from — they’re now proud of what they do. The money they earn is not something they just want to throw away, because they’re not proud of how they earned it. But they’re so proud of something that appears in front of their eyes. They can watch how their creativity flows into a product.

The coolest thing is that this could have been on the lake of Galilee, or this was somewhere on a wave in the Mediterranean.

Tabea takes a creative approach to raise awareness around human trafficking, like running races in stiletto high heels.

Tabea: We always try to get people’s attention to the cause in very funky ways. So we said, “Why don’t we just run in high heels?”

And so often in life, we think we have to have all the answers to something before we start being active about it. I just realized that the answers come by doing something. They don’t come if you’re just going to sit back and watch and be all disturbed about it, and all, “Oh my goodness. This is a crazy world. What’s going on?” It’s literally: “What am I good at? Let’s just do it.”

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