HanesBrands, a $6.5 billion manufacturer of innerwear and activewear apparel that employs 68,000 globally, announced on July 25 that it has joined forces with the nonprofit group Free the Girls to help women rescued from human trafficking re-establish their lives.
The company’s more than 200 retail stores in the United States and Puerto Rico, which operate under the HaneBrands, Hanes, Maidenform and L’eggs-Hanes-Bali-Playtex nameplates, are accepting new and gently used bras to be donated to Free The Girls. Donated bras are used by Free The Girls to help human trafficking survivors in Mozambique, El Salvador and Costa Rica establish secondhand apparel resale businesses to earn sustainable incomes.
“We are pleased to put the power of our retail operations behind this visionary organization to raise awareness of this important issue and provide an opportunity for the millions of people who visit our stores each year to take part in addressing the needs of survivors,” said Missy Sage, the company’s vice president of retail store operations.
Free The Girls is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization was founded in 2010 to help women rescued from human trafficking reintegrate into their communities. The organization provides opportunities for survivors to make a safe and sustainable income selling donated bras in the second-hand apparel market and offers needed support services to help these women achieve their dreams.
Free The Girls provides survivors with initial bra inventories at no cost, along with free financial planning, budgeting, inventory management and other critical support services to assist the women as they start their businesses. The organization also provides and low-cost inventory replenishment once businesses are up and running.
“Why bras is typically everyone’s first question and the answer is very simple,” Skiera-Vaughn noted. “In many developing nations, bras are sought-after apparel that command top dollar. By selling bras, a survivor is transformed into an entrepreneur, which provides a sense of direction and the economic freedom to support herself and her family.”
Participants in the Free The Girls program have used proceeds from their businesses to buy land, house their families, attend universities and expand their businesses – or start new ones. Courtney Skiera-Vaughn, executive director of the nonprofit. also reports that 100% of the women in the program have enrolled their children in school.