“I always knew I wanted Apricot Lane Boutiques to stand for more than just store growth,” said Petersen. “We need to be a part of making a difference. It’s got to be about more than just making money.”
Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) November 29, 2012
This is the first holiday season 3Strands bracelets will be available for consumers to purchase and give a gift that gives back. 3Strands bracelets are handmade by young women in Cambodia who have been rescued from a life of human trafficking and sexual slavery. 3Strands Global in partnership with Agape International Missions (AIM) is doing something to help make a difference in the lives of victims. These bracelets are sold via e-commerce (http://www.3StrandsGlobal.com) and available wholesale to other retailers throughout the world looking to help support this cause.
3Strands has received a great response from celebrities who are committed to fighting human trafficking around the world. Jada Pinkett Smith recently featured the bracelet on her wrist at a Prop 35 event where moms came together to give a voice to the fight against sexual slavery in California. 3Strands bracelets are also in the hands of Jennifer Aniston, Jack Black, Will Ferrell, Tom Cruise, Conan O’Brien, President Clinton and Martin Short who all received the bracelets in the gift bags from the recent 26th Annual American Cinematheque Tribute honoring Ben Stiller.
“When I first learned about the lives of sexual slavery these women were facing each and every day, I was moved to do something to make a difference,” said Ken Petersen, founder of 3Strands and owner of the Apricot Lane Boutique franchise. “When I asked Don Brewster, founder of AIM how we could help, he told me what these girls need after being rescued and restored are sustainable, well paying jobs in safe environments so they can reintegrate into their culture with dignity and honor. That’s where 3Strands came into play!” said Petersen.
In April 2012, Petersen and a small group of colleagues from Apricot Lane traveled to Cambodia to see firsthand the work AIM was doing. Understanding that sustainable work was key to their survival, the Training Center was created!
Upon arriving in Cambodia, the group visited the Agape Restoration Center (ARC). This beautiful, serene campus residence is where young girls are brought once they are rescued. The ARC welcomes broken girls into a safe environment, with nurturing loving relationships and a healing program. Young women and children as young as four years old are rescued and restored in this compassionate environment – lives are rebuilt – dreams are created – hope is born!
“The girls were so eager to see us every day! They would run towards our van, smiling and laughing and reaching for our hands as we walked with them,” said Petersen.
After the first day as the group left the ARC, there was not a dry eye on the long drive back to the hotel. Anger for what these beautiful girls had endured was replaced by a drive and determination to make a difference and work hard to put an end to this cycle of human slavery so that NO more innocent girls would walk the path these strong young women had walked before.
“Our eyes were opened to things we will never forget,” said Petersen. “What amazed us most was that regardless of the unfathomable experiences they had endured, these young women had smiles on their faces! They were hopeful, strong, compassionate and courageous and they all deserve so much.”
The 3Strands group was determined to find a symbolic reference to represent these young women and their country of Cambodia. The discovery of seeds from the native Sandalwood tree were literally underfoot. From this litter of dry, colorless pods, the women select a fragile red seed to include in each bracelet they make. The natural beauty of this glossy, scarlet seed represents the beauty in each of the women who have been freed and empowered with a hope for the future. To Don Brewster, founder of AIM, these once discarded seedpods equate well with the human trafficking industry. Each 3Strands bracelet proudly carries with it a reminder of the inner beauty of its creator along with their personal signature.
The Agape Training Center (ATC) is where these bracelets are created. This small jewelry and apparel training center is unlike any other in the world. Instead of a factory life working 12 hour shifts in horrible working conditions, the women attend ATC for 8 hours each day. During that time they receive counseling and educational services as well as lunch and medical benefits. Their salaries are 3–4 times higher than what the typical garment factories located in Cambodia pay. This community, where rehabilitation meets vocation, is built upon respect and compassion for one another in a family environment.
While AIM manages the Training Center and creates the unique, handmade jewelry and apparel designs, 3Strands purchases the products from ATC to market and distribute the products across the country through Apricot Lane Boutiques, including up and down the California coast. In addition, the bracelets are sold via e-commerce (http://www.3StrandsGlobal.com). 50% of profits from sales will help to fund Agape International Mission. http://www.3StrandsGlobal.com The higher the demand for the bracelets, the more young women AIM and 3Strands can provide sustainable jobs. It is their combined goal to open Training Centers around the world where rescued young women can come and rediscover the beauty within them by creating these bracelets!
“I always knew I wanted Apricot Lane Boutiques to stand for more than just store growth,” said Petersen. “We need to be a part of making a difference. Working together, we have an opportunity to make a positive impact in this world we live in. It’s got to be about more than just making money.”
3Strands hopes that individuals who buy and wear these bracelets will be reminded that they are changing the lives of young women around the world – and maybe the troubles of the day aren’t quite as bas as the troubles others face! For more information visit http://www.3StrandsGlobal.com