Fashion show raises awareness of human trafficking

Sunday, September 26, 2010 | 8:19 p.m. CDT; updated 3:36 p.m. CDT, Saturday, October 2, 2010
Margaret Howard gives a speech at the Central Missouri Stop Human Trafficking Coalition fundraiser at the Parkade Center on Sunday. This was Howard's first time talking about her personal experiences being trafficked and said she was honored and grateful to speak.

COLUMBIA — A group's fundraiser worked to stop human trafficking one dress at a time on Sunday night.

Freedom by Fashion, an event put on by the Central Missouri Stop Human Trafficking Coalition, transformed the hallways of Parkade Center, 601 Business Loop 70 W., into a runway catwalk. More than a hundred people attended the event.


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Local designers created the clothes and volunteers were the models. Vendors sold fair-trade items at booths, and attendees donated money to stop human trafficking through raffles and silent auctions.

Human trafficking is the enslaving of victims for commercial sex or labor purposes.

“The fashion industry has really been a target of slavery through sweatshops,” said Deb Hume, co-chair of Central Missouri Stop Human Trafficking Coalition. “A lot of the time we don’t even know where the product came from.”

Businesses such as Maude Vintage, Hu Hot and Mary Kay Cosmetics donated items in support of the cause.

“It’s important to get the word out,” said Pegi Phillips-Sapp, a volunteer at a fair-trade vendor, Global Market. “The more people take a stand, the less popular they’ll be and hopefully eradicated.”

Clothing from independent and Stephens College designers, and the Mustard Seed, a fair-trade shop downtown, was featured at the show. Thirteen different designers participated, and about half of the outfits shown were from Mustard Seed. The show included:

  • Bold patterned dresses.
  • Sskeo shoes.
  • Fabric cross-body shoulder bags.
  • Jewelry made from Tagua nuts.

Stephens students used fair-trade fabric for inspiration and when creating their outfits.

 “I chose seam lines that are really bold and confident,” Leah Shepard, a student at Stephens, said. “Because when someone’s sold, that’s what’s taken from them — their confidence and justice.”

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yogesh cu September 27, 2010 | 3:45 a.m.

Trafficking is global issue tragedy of trafficking is thousand of young girls and boys are sold into modern-day slavery. Watch this short it provides a compelling look into this dark, inhuman, and exploitative world and shows how each one of us can help to prevent modern-day slavery.

(Report Comment)
Martin Patt September 27, 2010 | 10:42 a.m.

The Central Missouri Stop Human Trafficking Coalition should be commended for their Freedom by Fashion production at the Parkade Center. Perhaps we can take this to the next level. I would like to suggest a complementary awareness campaign aimed at our children. I propose that we do more to educate the children to make them less naive. It has to be worked into the grade school curricula by sensitive educators so that the children are not frightened, but nevertheless are made aware of what can happen in various scenarios and are trained in how to escape when they sense that they are being entrapped. Raising awareness is the single best thing that we can do to protect our youth. Awareness will lead to caution, thereby decreasing the likelihood that a child or a young adult will later be deceived and enslaved. As Pegi Phillips-Sapp said, “It’s important to get the word out” - Prof Patt,

(Report Comment)
Anna D'Agostino October 2, 2010 | 10:39 a.m.

This was such an amazing event! Thank you to everyone who came out! You made all the sweat and tears we put into it 100% worth it. There is an entirely new group of citizens that are acutely aware of the reality and repercussions of human trafficking in their neighborhood. Thank you to all the designers as well, your pieces were absolutely breath-taking!

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