Jasmine's Place Issue No. 11 - May/June 2014 - Page 30

ELEGANTEES’ MISSION “Sarah” is a very sweet and shy young lady who lived in a rural and very poor area of Mexico, until she fell in love. She married a man who told her she'd have a better life in America with him. That happiness quickly turned to excruciating pain when she realized she was taken to the US only to be forced into prostitution. Her husband was part of a vast network of men that romanced vulnerable women and convinced them to move to New York City, then would trade them to a pimp. Difficult to believe in today’s western society, but sadly very true. Sarah was rescued by law enforcement and was taken to an organization called Restore NYC. She lived in a safehouse for a year and made progress in her journey of healing. She has been taking ESL classes, is learning to read and write both Spanish and English. Sarah said, "Since my first day at Restore's safehouse, my life has changed in many ways. I never thought I could have a different life and now I have a life, and have different opportunities to learn and do many things. Things I never imagined." Sarah has done very well and graduated from Restore's restoration program in 2013. Elegantees fights to rescue, protect, and restore those in slavery. Every purchase goes into employing more women rescued from trafficking to give a hope and a future to them. In providing sewing jobs, Elegantees gives the women a positive source of income that reinforces a healthy self- image. Today, the company employs Sarah, and two other women that share a similar story of exploitation. In providing sewing jobs, the company gives a positive source of income that reinforces a healthy self-image. They pay double the sewing price they'd pay using an existing local factory. Designed by Katie Martinez, elegantees are designed to be as effortless as the every-day jeans and tee-shirt routine, but at the same time, make women look and feel glamorous. The company’s dream goes beyond sewing. After they break even and are able to fairly pay their volunteer staff, they plan to be a business that helps fund other organizations that are rescuing and restoring victims of human trafficking. It’s a huge dream, but Katie Martinez i