A Business Solution to Fighting Slavery

Competition Finalist

This entry has been selected as a finalist in the
Ending Global Slavery: Everyday Heroes Leading the Way competition.

TEN fights slavery with empowerment, 'slavery-proofing' survivors and high risk communities by giving them economic alternatives and education and using the Made By Survivors products to help build the abolition movement in the US.

About You

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Location

Project Street Address

Project City

Project Province/State

Project Postal/Zip Code

Project Country

n/a

Your idea

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Sector Focus

Business

Year the initative began (yyyy)

2005

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Positioning of your initiative on the mosaic diagram

Which of these barriers is the primary focus of your work?

Vulnerability of targeted populations

Which of the principles is the primary focus of your work?

Increase community resilience

If you believe some other barrier or principle should be included in the mosaic, please describe it and how it would affect the positioning of your initiative in the mosaic

This field has not been completed. (333 words or less)

Name Your Project

A Business Solution to Fighting Slavery

Describe Your Idea

TEN fights slavery with empowerment, 'slavery-proofing' survivors and high risk communities by giving them economic alternatives and education and using the Made By Survivors products to help build the abolition movement in the US.

Innovation

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What is your signature innovation, your new idea, in one sentence?

TEN fights slavery with empowerment, 'slavery-proofing' survivors and high risk communities by giving them economic alternatives and education and using the Made By Survivors products to help build the abolition movement in the US.

Describe your innovation. What makes your idea unique and different than others doing work in the field?

Our innovation is creating the link between raising awareness about slavery and improving the lives of survivors. This solves a core problem for the shelters (limited space and reintegration), creates a new future for the survivors, and offer consumers an easy opportunity to make an impact. For those who want to do more, we provide a path to becoming a modern abolitionist. Shelters that try making products typically find they are very hard to market. We are experts at marketing the products and we link our marketing to growing consumer awareness about slavery.

Delivery Model: How do you implement your innovation and apply it to the challenge/problem you are addressing?

We help the shelters start or grow their income generation programs and provide free business and product development to our partners. We are also our parners customer and we buy and market their handicrafts. We sell throughout the US in home awareness parties online and in stores and use our marketing to educate US consumers about slavery and how they can become abolitionists. We are building a branded line of Made By Survivors products. By having a recognized brand and strong marketing we help small shelters market thier products to a much larger audience than they could using their own resources. You can see an example of our marketing and how we link our story to education in this article in Family Circle read a recent article about us from Family Circle here www.madebysurvivors.com/images/familycircle.pdf

How do you plan to grow your innovation?

There are more NGOs that want our service than we can manage, so by growing our marketing program, and increasing the numbers of volunteers and reps we have, we sell more and generate the funds we need to expand our business development services. We educated at least 5000 Americans about slavery at Awareness events in 2007, and over 500 survivors were involved in making products for us, part-time or full-time. Our program is growing virally, and we expect to impact twice that many in 2008.

Do you have any existing partnerships, and if so, how do you create them?

We currently partner with anti-slavery NGOs in India, Nepal, Cambodia, the US, the Philippines, the Ukraine, Uganda and Thailand. We create partnerships by offering business development help and markets, then build them with regular contact and volunteer trips, and by following through on our commitments to offer income generation help. We also parter with US abolition groups like Free The Slaves and Polaris. At this point, we get most of our overseas parters when they seek out our help, but we also get referrals from our US partners and the US State Department TIP office.

Impact

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Provide one sentence describing your impact/intended impact.

We empower survivors and high risk women/youth to rebuild their lives free from slavery and exploitation, and empower Americans to take concrete action to fight slavery and assist survivors.

What are the main barriers to creating or achieving your impact?

Reintegrating survivors into mainstream society is extremely challenging because of social stigma, and because some struggle with lack of education or with the physical and emotional effects of severe trauma.

In the US, while more and more people are now learning about human trafficking, we still need to get more people to take action and to really commit themselves to the anti-slavery movement. Taking people from 'oh, that's so sad' to 'That is unacceptable and i am going to do something about it!' is a continuing challenge.

Our main business barrier is capital. There are not a of funding options for growing social enterprise. The rate of our growth would accelerate significantly if we had more capital.

How many people have you served or plan to serve?

There is no natural limit on the number of survivors we can serve or the number of consumers we can motivate to become Abolitionists, at least until slavery and trafficking have ended.

Directly

We have reached approximately 10,000 Americans with slavery education at home parties and community events, and are currently employing about 300 survivors/high risk people part time or full time at shelters and prevention programs.

Indirectly

We could site things like website clicks to try to show large numbers, but for us the direct reach is our sole focus. We are happy when we recruit people to help our partners but we don't keep count of those connections.

Please list any other measures of the impact of your innovation?

On my last trip to Calcutta one of the survivors in our Destiny program told me her mother, who had also been trafficked, wanted her to go back the the brother and become a trafficker. Against her mothers wish, she is going to keep her job with us (she is a great designer). We cant easily measure these kinds of results. We cant yet, but hope to, measure things like how many people go to our home parities and then get involved in the abolition movement outside our programs (for example, getting involved with one of our policy or direct service partners)

Is there a policy intervention element to your innovation?

No, at least not directly, but as we recruit abolitionists we partner policy groups.

Exactly who are the beneficiaries of your innovation?

Survivors of human trafficking and slavery. The majority are women aged 16-25 who were trafficked into brothels as children but we are expanding into labor slavery survivors (like quarries) and in doing so reach more men. We also serve women and youth who are extremely vulnerable to trafficking through our work with prevention programs like DEPDC.

This Entry is about (Issues)

Sustainability

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How is your initiative financed (or how do you expect your initiative will be financed)?

So far a combination of personal investment from savings, debt, and internal cash flows through sale of handicrafts. TEN Charities has received mostly individual donations but has had some foundation support. We are seeking all forms of social capital for working capital and growth capital.

If known, provide information on your finances and organization

We currently have four employees and hundreds of active volunteers. While we are happy to disclose financial data to individuals, investors, or donors, we prefer to respond to requests as opposed to open publishing, at least for TEN Inc.. As part of the hybrid model, TEN Charities fully complies with IRS and State disclosure rules but the business aspects of our program as described here are completely separate from TEN Charities. Unless our capital structure changes, all profits from the business are to be donated to TEN Charities. We are not profitable yet.

What is the potential demand for your innovation?

All survivors want independence. While not all survivors will fit into our model there are still many millions we hope to reach. The Made By Survivor's product categories and sales channels are all measured in billions so even small market share goals provide huge opportunity for the survivors.

What are the main barriers to financial sustainability?

Access to working capital. We can limit our growth to manage cash flows but would prefer to take the risk of growth and if we don't have access to working and expansion capital we could grow faster than we can support on internal cash flows.

The Story

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What is the origin of this innovation? Tell us your story.

In 2003, Sarah saw a documentary film which told the stories of girls enslaved in Indian brothels. After being rescued, they participated in an Underground Railroad with local activists - rescuing others, working the borders, and raising awareness in remote villages.

Their courage compelled us to find a way to help, and we resolved to dedicate our lives to the issue.

Sarah began volunteering with one the largest rescue and rehabilitation programs, Maiti Nepal. In 2004 she visited Maiti and asked the founder what was needed most. She said their biggest problem was reintegrating survivors and finding them jobs. Maiti had a crafts program for art therapy but was unable to sell the products.

After exploring this problem and researching and contacting other shelters, we resolved to address the problem of trafficking with an economic empowerment model. Many friends and people from our community soon joined our efforts, thus we have been able to grow quickly and add other NGO partners.

Please provide a personal bio. Note this may be used in Changemakers marketing material

Prior to starting TEN, Sarah Symons worked both in the nonprofit and business worlds, serving as Program Director and Artist in Residence for Creative Arts Workshops, a program serving homeless kids in New York City. She has

John Berger brings 18 years of Wall Street business experience to the organization, having worked as an investment banker at Prudential Securities, Smith Barney and BB&T. John is a Chartered Financial Analyst and has extensive experience evaluating, improving, and financing business models in a variety of industries.

Emphasis of Work

Prevention, Rehabilitation, Empowerment, Education, Movement Building

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308 weeks ago Kupla Kololollllo said: I appreciate this is really good work! about this Competition Entry. - read more >
311 weeks ago John Berger said: Thank you for your comments and your support. We are working on a program to improve the metrics we use to demonstrate and evaluate ... about this Competition Entry. - read more >
313 weeks ago Amelia Forrest Kaye said: On July 16, 2008, the judges reviewed the entries for the Changemakers “Ending Global Slavery” Competition and would like to pass on the ... about this Competition Entry. - read more >
315 weeks ago A Business Solution to Fighting Slavery has been chosen as a winner in Ending Global Slavery: Everyday Heroes Leading the Way.
315 weeks ago Lars Hasselblad Torres said: John and team, It has been enormously inspiring to see your work deepen and expand over the last several years. I think your "insight ... about this Competition Entry. - read more >
315 weeks ago Jan Mattimoe said: John, I am glad that I had an opportunity to read more about some of your (your organization's) work. The more I read the more I ... about this Competition Entry. - read more >
315 weeks ago Kathy Blackwell said: I have seen people that have gone to do work for TEN in India and come back different people....You cannot see these girls and women and ... about this Competition Entry. - read more >
316 weeks ago Scott Beale said: For two years I worked in India helping coordinate the US Government's efforts to fight human trafficking and I have seen a lot of ... about this Competition Entry. - read more >
316 weeks ago Rachel Wambui said: Hi John, it is for a good cause, it will change many, i hope you win, best wishes. Rachel www.peacecaravan.wordpress.com about this Competition Entry. - read more >
316 weeks ago John Berger said: I want to thank you all for your kind comments. I also want to thank Changemakers for putting on the great competition. We are very ... about this Competition Entry. - read more >