Human trafficking is a problem happening all over the world, including here in KELOLAND.
In fact, since 2007, the National Human Trafficking Hotline has been contacted more than 600 times relating to South Dakota and trafficking.
But once a survivor is able to get out of the situation, more barriers can lie ahead, including employment.
That’s why a Sioux Falls business is teaming up with a local non-profit to help.
It’s a small item you use in your own home, but the purpose behind the Freedom Candle is much bigger than that.
“It’s more than just a product. It’s something that’s tangibly helping other people,” Simply Perfect Production Director Beth Gammel said.
Beth Gammel is the production director at Simply Perfect in downtown Sioux Falls.
She helps make the candles, but she doesn’t do it alone.
“The survivors of human trafficking actually pour and create all of the candles and it’s just a way to create a meaningful job and loving work environment for them,” Gammel said.
The fragrance is described as light and airy, meant to symbolize a fresh start.
For human trafficking survivors, it’s a fresh start in the workforce, something Call to Freedom’s executive director says can be a challenge.
“A lot of them come and a lot of them don’t have a work history because they’ve been sold for years and so there’s this gap in their employment history. There’s also those where their traffickers will force them into felonies or misdemeanors and so they have a record and somebody doesn’t want to hire them because of that,” Call to Freedom Executive Director Becky Rasmussen said.
“I feel so blessed to be able to be a part of this and I’m just thankful to work with the women, just one on one and really just to see the light in their eyes to make them feel like they’re a part of something special and that’s what we’re trying to create here,” Gammel said.
And it all starts with a candle.
Not only is the Freedom Candle helping survivors become employed, but 100 percent of the net proceeds will to go Call to Freedom.
You can buy the candle at Simply Perfect or online.
Survivors are also making bath and body items at the store.