Human sex trafficking has been silently plaguing societies across the world since the dawn of humankind, affecting millions of women & AFAB folks. The numbers are staggering: over 25 million people worldwide are victims of trafficking, with women and girls accounting for 71% of all victims worldwide. And numbers are on the rise.
The reality is that human trafficking is a lucrative industry, generating an estimated $150 billion in illegal profits every year. Businesses need to take urgent measures to reduce the potential for exploitation within their own systems, be it collaborative efforts between governments, advocacy groups or private organisations.
At Daye, we’re dedicated to sustainable period care and to bridging the gender health gap. By partnering with A21 and Daughters of Bulgaria, we are helping survivors of sexual and human trafficking reintegrate into society in a safe and supportive way.
How Our Work Began
I first learned about human trafficking through a personal experience when I was still a high school student. I grew up in Bulgaria, the poorest country in Europe, and decided to become an au pair and move to Austria so that I could save up for my University tuition fees. Due to a strained relationship with my family, I made this choice without their knowledge. My family didn’t know that I was leaving the country to work abroad. I met my host family online through a random website, and after only two quick Skype calls, I was on a plane to Salzburg with no contract, no work permit, and very little information about what to expect.
At the time, all I had to my name was my passport and my little red suitcase. I traveled without any cash and I didn’t have a sim card, which meant I had no way of protecting myself should my host family have been part of a human trafficking scheme. When I landed in Salzburg, my new “employer” was late to pick me up from the airport, so I filled the time browsing brochures, anxiously awaiting their arrival. Here, I found a brochure about human trafficking and learned that many girls from Eastern Europe get lured into human and sexual trafficking under the pretence of work abroad schemes. I still remember the chills I felt when I realised the danger I had put myself in by being careless, naive and uninformed.
Fortunately, my story wasn’t one of sexual trafficking, but my family did refuse to pay the agreed rate and a lot of what was discussed over Skype didn’t end up materialising. I had to look after two very young children, while also maintaining a three-story house in meticulous order. My working day started at 6 am, with the children waking up, and ended at 10pm. I had no days off. My “employer” would routinely scream at me when I hadn’t scrubbed the bathroom floors correctly, or if I hadn’t ironed the bed sheets to her taste. When I decided to leave the family (due to the poor working conditions and exploitation) I had to hitchhike as I couldn’t afford a taxi.
This close encounter with human trafficking and workplace exploitation marked me forever.
When I eventually founded Daye in 2017, I knew I wanted us to provide a safe space and a supportive environment for human trafficking survivors. Initially, I started volunteering with Daughters of Bulgaria, working to spread awareness about modern slavery. We organised a few showings of a film called The Price of Sex, an undercover investigation into the realities of sexual and human trafficking, and donated the proceeds to secure care packages for those impacted by modern slavery. We would distribute the care packages directly to the individuals, visiting locations where we knew human traffickers exploited vulnerable groups. The packages contained small sources of comfort such as wet wipes, toys for their children, chewing gum, snacks, and condoms – as well as organisations to contact if and when they were ready to try and escape.
This voluntary work has evolved into a formal partnership, with Daye supporting the A21 and Daughters of Bulgaria charities and the communities they serve.
Partnership with A21: A Beacon of Hope for Survivors
A21 is a remarkable charity that is on the front lines of the battle against human trafficking. They provide comprehensive support to survivors, which includes vital medical care, psychological assistance, halfway housing and logistical support to help survivors rebuild their lives.
Daye’s work with A21 is born out of a shared commitment to fighting human trafficking and providing support to survivors. Less than 1% of human trafficking victims make it out of the cycle of abuse, only to find a gaping hole where social support and resources should be. At Daye, we’ve chosen to be A21’s industrial partner, which means we provide flexible employment and learning opportunities for the women and girls who have escaped modern slavery.
1. Comprehensive Support for Survivors
A21's multifaceted approach to supporting survivors is one of the reasons why we at Daye chose to collaborate with them. Survivors often face immense physical and emotional trauma, and A21's provision of medical care and psychological assistance is crucial in helping these individuals regain their health & well-being.
2. Rebuilding Lives
Human trafficking leaves survivors with shattered lives and minds, often devoid of any sense of independence and possibility. Daye's collaboration with A21 means we can offer survivors stable and rewarding work that fosters independence and enables them to thrive on their own terms.
This is an integral step in the journey to recovery and reintegration into society. The few brave individuals who go through great efforts to escape often find themselves discriminated against or taken advantage of in the modern workplace. It’s essential that we equip sexual trafficking survivors with work that helps them to rebuild both their skills and sense of dignity.
3. Raising Awareness
By featuring A21's logo and emergency helpline on all our packaging, we can amplify the importance of A21's work and encourage our community to join the fight against human trafficking. Our hope is that by spreading the word about the support A21 offers, we can encourage more victims to break free.
Our Partnership with Daughters of Bulgaria - A Local Force for Change
We also work closely with Daughters of Bulgaria, recognising the importance of addressing human trafficking at both a global and local level.
1. Grassroots Impact
Daughters of Bulgaria is a local organisation dedicated to supporting survivors of human trafficking in Bulgaria, which is where Daye’s production and fulfillment facilities are based. Local initiatives play a crucial role in understanding and addressing the specific challenges faced by survivors in a given region.
2. Regaining Hope & Control through Employment
Similar to our partnership with A21, Daye's work with Daughters of Bulgaria focuses on providing survivors with employment opportunities. This helps them regain control over their lives and build a more secure and prosperous future for themselves and their families.
Human sex trafficking is a global crisis that demands collective action. It affects many more people than we realise, and can impact individuals from very different backgrounds. We are committed to combating human trafficking through our partnerships with A21 and Daughters of Bulgaria and we hope you will join our fight.
By providing comprehensive support to survivors, offering employment opportunities, and raising awareness, we can collectively contribute to the eradication of this heinous crime. We want to make a positive local impact, while moving towards our goal of bridging the gender gap in medical research and innovation.