A young woman from Labrador City is collecting gently used or new bras for a project she’s involved with that helps young women impacted by human trafficking.
Rebecca Smith is currently studying at the College of the North Atlantic, Labrador West Campus.
She learned about a U.S-based non-profit organization called Free The Girls while doing research for one of her courses.
“I thought this would be a great way to bring awareness to the topic (of women affected by human trafficking) and I knew I wanted to do something to help,” the 18-year-old said during a recent phone interview.
According to the organization’s website, Free The Girls helps women in developing countries, rescued from sex trafficking, reintegrate into their communities.
The organization gives the women a supply of bras to help them start their own business. They sell the bras in second-hand clothing markets in their communities. The income allows them a safe, economic opportunity, and for many of the women, provides not only for themselves, but also their children.
Since launching its first program in Mozambique in 2011, Free The Girls has collected over 600,000 new and gently used bras from women all over the world.
Helping women in developing countries start their own small business is Smith’s way of helping them move forward with their lives.
“Many of these women don’t have the resources to buy bras for themselves. And the bra symbolizes empowerment and what these women go through,” she said.
Smith was co-captain of the Menihek High School’s basketball team. She was also involved in her school’s drama activities. These days much of her time is spent studying (her career goal is to be accepted into the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary’s policing program) and working part-time.
When she’s not studying or working, Smith enjoys outdoor activities such as hunting and fishing.
She is hoping to collect as many bras as possible for her current project and encourages people to contact her with donations.
Smith reiterates the project is also a way to raise awareness about human trafficking which, she said, is more common in this country than many people realize.
“Human trafficking isn’t something people are comfortable talking about... not something that’s going to be brought up at the dinner table. But letting people realize that someone you know could be affected by this is my main goal of doing this,” she said.
Anyone with gently used or new bras to donate to Smith can contact her on Facebook to arrange drop-off.
Monetary donations can also be made via e-transfer to email@example.com.
For more information on the Free The Girls visit https://freethegirls.org/ourstory/.