After learning in detail about the evils of human trafficking at his church, Ken Petersen was moved to make a difference. He decided to use his own fashion boutique business as a way to create change and partner with organizations already engaged in the fight against human trafficking. Since 2011, 3Strands partnered with Agape International Missions (AIM) and the Agape Training Center (ATC), in a collaboration to help victims of human trafficking get their lives back on track.
As the CEO of Apricot Lane, a U.S. chain of franchised fashion boutiques, Petersen envisioned a global brand that is recognized for its philanthropic ambition and unique, quality, handmade jewelry. By supporting the employing female victims, he created a product that consumers can enjoy and promote knowing that their purchases are aiding the fight against this terrible crime.
Headquartered in Vacaville, Calif., 3Strands is a for-profit company whose marketing efforts help sell these special handmade bracelets. The company funds the ATC in Svay Pak, Cambodia, which teaches rescued girls over the age of 16 how to navigate the workplace and become financially stable after they have been rescued by AIM and put into a stable environment.
The bracelets are for sale on the 3Strands website, the Apricot Lane website and in over 100 Apricot Lane boutiques around the U.S. The price that 3Strands purchases the bracelets for pays for the women’s wages and training center’s operating fees in Cambodia. They are also committed to donating another 50 percent of their profits to help rescue and rehabilitate more girls who need the help.
“The brand represents strength and community […] it is our desire to increase awareness and build a large and diverse community of people and businesses that refuse to let status quo be the norm. It is also our intention to align this cause and brand with Apricot Lane and other retailers along with international e-commerce and hope [others] will embrace it with passion to help increase the awareness of child sex trafficking as we come together to make a difference,” Petersen said. “I believe that collectively, we can be known for something that makes a positive impact on our world. Child sex trafficking and human slavery is everywhere around the world, is not any one religion, is evil and must be stopped.”
Rescued women get their lives back on track by making wax-cotton hand-woven bracelets to earn money. Each bracelet features a signature 3Strands metal closure which reminds wearers of the human trafficking survivor who created it. The sale of every 3Strands handmade bracelet and gift box helps fundraise to help empower, teach and employ young women who have been rescued from the tragic world of human trafficking.
Each bracelet is braided with three cords, symbolizing that a cord of three is not easily broken. As each bracelet is crafted by hand with love, the creators incorporate a single red Sandalwood seed from the pods of sandalwood tree native to Cambodia, in the design reminding themselves of their beauty. The women sign their name with pride when finishing the accessory.
3Strands goes by their mantra of “freedom, love and empowerment,” which is written on each bracelet charm. “[Freedom, love and empowerment] is part of the restoration cycle. They are freed, then loved and then empowered with jobs that provide hope for their future,” Petersen shared.
There is much in store for the future of 3Strands as they want to expand in order to help more women with the sales of more bracelets.
“We want to focus on creating new and exciting bracelet designs for each new season as we continue to build the brand. There are thousands of girls that need to be rescued. We would like to see multiple Training Centers developed that can employ and support thousands of girls as the brand builds awareness,” said Petersen.
3Strands gives these victims the opportunity to regain strength and re-start their lives by working toward something that they can be proud of—just by making one little bracelet.
To learn more about 3Strands, visit www.3strandsglobal.com