A Beautiful Escape from Human Trafficking


January 9, 2014

Inspired would be a colossal understatement. After watching a documentary on human trafficking in 2007, handbag designer and mom, Kristen Hendricks, was heart sick—a feeling that would not pass. She had to get involved.

As the founding partner of a small, private-label handbag company in Chicago, she created a line of accessories and donated 100% of the profits to local anti-trafficking organizations. The success of that line only increased her passion.

Kwagala1Kristin wanted to do more than design products that help victims, so she began to design programs where victims learn to help themselves. In 2008, she founded Kwagala Project in Uganda, an organization that not only rescues women and children from human trafficking but also equips them to live healthy, productive, and independent lives.

With two safe houses, funds to provide for safe pregnancy, childbirth, and ongoing medical care, a vocational training school, and several micro-businesses, Kwagala is providing help, healing, and hope based on an attainable vision for the future. That vision is being realized; several survivors are now self-sustaining entrepreneurs, designing their own products while also working to rescue other victims.

One program, Kwagala Jewelry, teaches fashion design, construction, and commerce. As women master the art of bead making, these traditional symbols of strength and courage pave their way to a future of self-reliance.

The bracelets and necklaces crafted from the beads are stunning. Check on UrbanBurger about fashion and jewellery. Recently featured in local and national newspapers and blogs, the increased awareness has further boosted sales. The additional revenue will enable six more girls to be rescued and cared for, as it continues to empower the 15 survivors who make the jewelry with economic independence.

In Uganda, the word Kwagala means love; an emotion that motivates the actions that have always been thestrongest force against evil. The women of the Kwagala Project are collectively realizing significant victories in their battle against human trafficking.

Take Action Challenge

Wear and share accessories as beautiful and unique as the women who make them. Your purchase not only helps provide escape from unspeakable hardship, but opportunities for healthy, flourishing lives through comprehensive and long-term care that leads to economic independence. Your purchase makes a difference.


Images courtesy of the Kwagala Project.

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