There are around 50 million enslaved people in the world. Of that 40 million, almost 8 million live in India, and 70% are female. Furthermore, about 700 million people are living at poverty level with an income of $1.90/day or less, many of whom work in South Asia’s fast-growing apparel industry.

Social reform in India - and around the world - requires addressing the root causes of slavery, poverty, and the need for sustainable and ethical jobs. Handouts of food, clothing, and water may help today, but don’t necessarily change the circumstances for tomorrow.

Sustainable work means freedom because it provides an individual with the opportunity to be self-sufficient and self-reliant.


Woman in india rag-picking for money

The woman pictured above is called a “Rag Picker” in India. A person who collects trash all day with the hope of finding something of value to sell. The average rag picker works 12 hours a day making $1- $2.  This is why we do what we do. Offering women like this hope and dignity through jobs that empower.



1. Today there are 50 million people in slavery. An all-time high. (including human trafficking) (source: Global Slavery Index)

2. 11 million in India. More than any other country. (source: Global Slavery Index)

3. The average modern slave is bought for just $90 - against a price tag of $40,000 about 200 years ago (Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation)

4. 36% of ages 13-24 that are trafficked in the US are male. (source:

5. Human trafficking is the third-biggest criminal enterprise in the world, after drug trafficking and counterfeiting. (Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation)

6. Human trafficking accounts for more than 32 billion dollars in illegal profits every year, more than Nike, Google, and Starbucks combined. (source: International Labour Office)

7. 700 million people are living at poverty level with an income of $1.90/day or less (source: World Bank).

8. In India alone, there are 300 million people living in poverty.  India ranks highest on the list of countries with the most people living at this level.  (source: International Labour Office)


How do we measure freedom?

Every MADE FREE purchase supports a day of freedom from human trafficking, slavery, and poverty through a self-sustaining job. How do we calculate that? One day of freedom is one day of self-reliant, safe, and ethically-paid work. 

At the time of this writing, through the support of our customers and organizations like the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, 55,224 total days of freedom have been provided to crafters in India since our founding in 2013. 

You can read our maker’s stories and see the impact of economic empowerment on their lives. Check it out. 


Learn more about the Hidden Links: Modern Slavery, Poverty, and the Fashion Industry