In Kampala, Uganda, an estimated 15,000-18,000 children are trafficked for labor and sex per year. Girls and boys age 11 and younger are abducted by professional traffickers to be exploited as domestic and sex slaves, commercial labor, and treated as commodities. Girls are particularly vulnerable to trafficking when in extreme poverty, as orphans, and due to lack of government protection and the normalization of undermining the value of the girl-child in Ugandan society.
This project will free 55 girl survivors of trafficking through outreach to the poorest slums in Uganda. Staff will provide supportive counseling and facilitate girls' access to safe housing and medical care. Twice a week, girls will attend business skills and therapeutic workshops to create jewelry. They can earn up to $6 a week to pay for basic necessities, reducing their economic vulnerability to exploitation. Jewelry is sold at local markets, online, and at FAIR Girls' D.C. events.
JewelGirls is the sole source of income for nearly all members. In monthly structured discussions focusing on money management, accessing loans, and valuing oneself as a girl, girls will foster positive relationships and support one another towards their goals. They will learn to save in order to open their own hair salon or store someday, creating a stronger, women inclusive economy. These empowered girls will in turn inspire their friends and future daughters to do the same.