3:01

Buy soap to set trafficked women free

A simple act to help give refuge, work and dignity to those forced into sex slavery.

"No photography" is the first sign that greets guests when they visit the Touch Nature soap factory in Kolkata.

Josephine, the founder, is sensitive about having visitors mix with the dozen or so women who work there.

Most of them are still reeling from having been tricked or forced, and trafficked into sex work.

"We are very protective of their identities since most of their families do not know that they once ended up as sex slaves," she explains.

The women are shy towards newcomers, but after two days, Josephine lets me eat lunch with them, and they welcome me warmly.

One of them, Maiya, agrees to show her face on camera. When I ask why, she says it's "so that Josephine didi (sister in Nepali) can help more ladies like me".

I also notice that Maiya keeps saying the word "préma" to Josephine during the interview.

Later I ask the interpreter and find out that it is the Nepali word for love.

Maiya had been saying that she had felt Josephine's love since the first time that they met, and she was very thankful to her.

Préma is very evident when one of the ladies invites a friend to visit the factory during a tea break.

The friend, who has been working as a prostitute, asks if she can work at the soap factory.

Josephine explains what they do, the lady agrees to the conditions and she is welcomed with much warmth.

It is this préma, this love for others, that I keep seeing in my time at Touch Nature. It touches the hearts of the women like Maiya, and gives them renewed courage.


You can buy the soap that the women of Touch Nature make through their online store Prema Touch and help Josephine to continue offering refuge, work and dignity to those tricked or forced into sex slavery.

    This story makes you feel

    You May Like

    Text

    The needs can be overwhelming

    A veteran of betrayal, riots and a successful social enterprise talks about not being able to help everyone.

    Text

    What if you were the weakest?

    If you had to design a society from scratch, would you choose to give the most disadvantaged the greatest benefit?

    Video

    Gangster, addict, dancing queen

    She's got a secret weapon to reach troubled youth.

    Video

    The unlikely librarian

    In an Indonesian village where afternoons are spent napping, one fisherman is losing sleep so kids can read.

    Inspire Me