Blog Feature: What is Dressember? By Kiera Waller
If you’ve followed me for a while you know that I have a soft spot for shopping ethically, small and finding ways to always give back with shopping to causes that are close to my heart.
In recent years I have seen more and more of my friends do “Dressember”. Knowing little about it I was SO excited to see Kiera from France Photographers consistently posting about it this December. I have learned so much from her and wanted to take this platform and share with you this amazing cause, what it’s doing and how many people it’s impacting.
“This is my fourth year participating in Dressember and I am so excited to share more about it with you! When Brandie messaged me asking if I would like to write about it for her blog, I jumped at the chance! One of the biggest aspects of Dressember is raising awareness, so I'm happy I can do that with you.
What is Dressember?
Dressember's vision is a world without slavery. Did you know that there are currently more than 30 million people enslaved in the world today? And that human trafficking generates about $150 billion a year?!
These statistics are horrifying, and so much more than just numbers. These are people!!! So every year, thousands of advocates around the world take on the creative challenge of wearing a dress (or tie) for the 31 days of December to help end human trafficking. The dress or tie serves as a conversation starter to educate others about modern-day slavery. Can a dress change the world? Dressember says yes! Advocates post pictures to social media to prove they are wearing their dresses each day. They share statistics about human trafficking and ask for donations. Since 2013, Dressember advocates have raised over $5 million!!
How does Dressember Help to End Human Trafficking?
This year Dressember has partnered with 12 different organizations. This is where donations go. They vet their partners annually through the following criteria:
Collaboration, Cultural Sensitivity, Measurable Impact, Innovation, and Sustainability.
Here is a little about each organization and how they are using their Dressember grants so you can really see how donations are used to end human trafficking:
International Justice Mission - funding the Kolkata, India field office, focused on rescuing girls from sex trafficking restoring broken justice systems, and other NGOs
A21 - funding a new Freedom Center in Bulgaria to accommodate survivors and provide holistic aftercare services including counseling and legal services
McMahom/yan Child Advocacy Center - funding victim identification, aftercare, and outreach to at-risk youth in the great Syracuse, NY area
Coaltion to Abolish Slavery an Trafficking - funding empowerment programs including case management and legal services to eliminate employment and self-sufficiency barriers in Los Angles
Thorn - Funding their Spotlight tool, a sex trafficking investigation tool that helps law enforcement identify child sex trafficking victims who are advertised online
Olive Crest - Funding Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC) Awareness and Independent Life Skills training to young people living in group homes and those coming out of foster care in California and Washington
Love 146 - Funding a portion of their US Survivors Care Program which provides long-term services, helping children and their families/caregivers understand, respond to, and recover from the impact of their victimization
Businesses Ending Slavery & Trafficking (BEST) - Funding the expansion of Inhospitable to Trafficking Training (ITT) within the hotel industries in communities across the US
Restore NYC - Funding the work of the job development that helps place survivors in sustainable, life-giving, safe employment through their innovative worker-owned cooperative in NYC
Saving Innocence - Funding an expansion to their case management services to meet the growing demand for frontline services to youth survivors
Pathfinders - Funding their New Paths program, which houses their sex trafficking services and advocacy resources for children and youth in Milwaukee
Youthspark - Funding their Youth Services Center that offers program tracks for boys and LGBTQ youth inAtlanta, Georgia
How Can You Help?
1) Donate to Dressember! I set a goal of raising $1500 for Dressember this year! I would love if you helped me get there. You can donate to my campaign here: bit.ly/kieras4thdressember
2) You can still join the movement! Commit to wearing a dress or tie for the remaining days of December.
3) Share this post on social media so your friends and family can learn more about Dressember!
Kiera- thanks so much for sharing this cause with us today! We are doing something so fun and exciting over on my Instagram so be sure to follow along and check my stories today!