The Human Thread

July 07, 2018

Author: editor

Category: Advocate

Trafficked Garment Worker to receive Fashion for Freedom Award

Flor Molina, a survivor of modern slavery in Los Angeles who has become a champion for trafficking victims and survivor protection, has been announced as the recipient of the 2018 Fashion for Freedom Award from Free the Slaves. Her inspiring journey from sweatshop slavery to human rights activist and U.S. State Department adviser embodies exceptional dedication and impact.

The Fashion for Freedom Award was created by Free the Slaves to honor changemakers working in ethical fashion and slavery eradication. The honor recognizes one person advancing those fields through creative and effective methods. Through her activism and advocacy, Molina embodies the purpose of the award.

Molina speaks for those affected by the atrocity of sweatshop slavery in the garment industry. Trafficked herself from Mexico to the U.S. in 2001, she was forced to work in a garment factory in Los Angeles. After Molina’s child died in Mexico because she could not afford medical expenses, she was “an easy target” for her trafficker, she says.

Forced to work 18 hour days for more than a month, Molina convinced her trafficker to allow her leave the factory to attend church. She never went back. The FBI began an investigation and connected Molina with the Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (CAST), a nonprofit that provides comprehensive, life-changing services to survivors and advocates for groundbreaking policies and legislation.

Since her escape, Molina’s amazing work advocating for others highlights those who have been affected by labor trafficking. “The media covers a lot about sex slavery but doesn’t talk about the labor side. I’m eager to raise awareness about labor trafficking because I am a labor trafficking survivor,” Molina says.

In 2012, alongside a number of anti-slavery organizations, Molina advocated for creation of the California Supply Chain Transparency Act. Under the law, manufacturers and retailers must disclose efforts they have taken to ensure their supply chains are slavery free. She recalled that most businesses were wary about supporting the concept until hearing her personal story. This underscores the vital importance of survivor leadership in the anti-trafficking movement.

In 2015, Molina was appointed by President Barack Obama to America’s first-ever U.S. Advisory Council on Human Trafficking. During her two-year term, Molina provided detailed recommendations to the president and federal agencies to strengthen U.S. policy and programs to combat human trafficking at home and abroad.

“As a survivor, advocate, activist, expert – and so much more – Flor has been a champion for the conscious consumerism movement for many years now,” Free the Slaves Fashion for Freedom coordinator Allie Gardner said. “She’s an inspiration and a true leader, and those of us fighting for a more ethical fashion industry can learn a lot from her.”

Free the Slaves will formally present the Fashion for Freedom award to Molina July 28 at the Fashion for Freedom Event in New York, where she will have the opportunity to address the event’s guests and visiting journalists. When asked what she plans to tell them, Molina said: “I want everyone to know that human trafficking exists in all industries, including the garment industry. We, as consumers, can and should be part of the solution.”

Molina’s story is recounted in a number of media outlets:

Free the Slaves will formally present the Fashion for Freedom award to Molina July 28 at the Fashion for Freedom Event in New York, where she will have the opportunity to address the event’s guests and visiting journalists.

Learn more: www.ftsfashionforfreedom.com

(Much of the above content was drawn from Free the Slaves’ press release.)