HanesBrands, a socially responsible global marketer of everyday basic apparel, has joined forces with the nonprofit group Free The Girls to help women rescued from human trafficking re-establish their lives.
The company’s more than 200 retail stores in the United States and Puerto Rico, which operate under the HaneBrands, Hanes, Maidenform and L’eggs-Hanes-Bali-Playtex nameplates, are accepting new and gently used bras to be donated to Free The Girls. Prominently placed collection boxes make it easy for store patrons to drop off bra donations from home or leave a bra behind when purchasing a new one. Donated bras are used by Free The Girls to help human trafficking survivors in Mozambique, El Salvador and Costa Rica establish secondhand apparel resale businesses to earn sustainable incomes.
“Partnering with Free The Girls is a natural fit for HanesBrands, a company known for producing a wide array of apparel designed to empower women,” said Missy Sage, the company’s vice president of retail store operations. “We are pleased to put the power of our retail operations behind this visionary organization to raise awareness of this important issue and provide an opportunity for the millions of people who visit our stores each year to take part in addressing the needs of survivors.”
Stores are already reporting a very positive reaction to the partnership, Sage notes. A consumer shopping in a Locust Grove, Georgia, HanesBrands store was so inspired by the program that she returned the next day with 50 bras she had collected for donation.
“We are so grateful HanesBrands chose to make a tangible difference in the lives of human trafficking survivors by partnering with Free The Girls,” said Courtney Skiera-Vaughn, executive director of the nonprofit. “For nearly a decade, we have been working to help previously exploited women lead vibrant and successful lives – and we rely on influential brands and compassionate individuals to help make this vision a reality.”
Free The Girls provides survivors with initial bra inventories at no cost, along with free financial planning, budgeting, inventory management and other critical support services to assist the women as they start their businesses. The organization also provides low-cost inventory replenishment once businesses are up and running.
“Why bras is typically everyone’s first question and the answer is very simple,” Skiera-Vaughn noted. “In many developing nations, bras are sought-after apparel that command top dollar. By selling bras, a survivor is transformed into an entrepreneur, which provides a sense of direction and the economic freedom to support herself and her family.”
Participants in the Free The Girls program have used proceeds from their businesses to buy land, house their families, attend universities and expand their businesses – or start new ones. Skiera-Vaughn also reports that 100% of the women in the program have enrolled their children in school.
HanesBrands’ partnership with Free The Girls is part of the company’s award-winning Hanes for Goodcorporate social responsibility commitment that focuses on workplace quality, environmental stewardship, philanthropy and community building.