In recognition of National Slavery and Human Trafficking Awareness Month, Global Gifts is featuring a collection of Valentine’s Day themed cards handcrafted by Filipino women who have escaped from sex-trafficking.
The Philippines is home to over 500,000 women who, either by force or desperate necessity, are operating as prostitutes within the country. This number is even more jarring when compared to the Philippines’ total population of approximately 98 million. Due to overwhelmingly high poverty levels in the Philippines (roughly 30% of the population) and the illegal and illicit sex trade market that thrives virtually unchallenged in Southeast Asia, Filipino women find themselves without a choice when faced with either destitution or prostitution.
In the face of such adversity, one company has found an answer to the plight of these Filipino women in perhaps the most unlikely of places.
Sanctuary Spring is a Filipino-based card-making company that’s part of the massive 13 billion dollar greeting card market. Part of the growing worldwide Fair Trade movement, Sanctuary Spring employs Filipino women seeking to escape the sex trade, providing training and jobs and designing greeting cards that capture the implicit humor in mundane and everyday life (as well as hilarious wordplay). The funds Sanctuary Spring garners from card sales sustain programs that help the women provide food and education for their families.
The cards themselves are crafted from a handmade, locally recycled paper. Once the blank card is in hand, the designated card designer then cuts out multi-colored shapes from the paper and pastes those onto the cards to create a desired picture or image. A hand letterpress machine is operated to print out more specific designs and text onto the cards. Once the whole operation is complete, each woman who designed the card makes sure to put her signature on the card- another little touch of personality that these cards.
Though they’re handmade in the Philippines, the witty puns and amusing art manage to transcend playfully from the paper and ink that they are crafted from. From Abraham Lincoln boldly stating, “Our Union Shall Not Be Divided” or a wookiee announcing, “You're My Chew Love” it is difficult not to break into a smile while looking at each of these well-designed cards.
"People can support trafficking survivors by teaming up with Global Gifts to help the women at Sanctuary Spring rebuild their lives. National Trafficking Awareness Day is a great day to do this.” said Sam Carpenter, Director of Global Gifts.
Make a difference today by simply purchasing a Good Paper greeting card online or at one of the four Global Gifts store locations. By doing so, you will be giving love and hope to women in the Philippines and, in return, you’ll receive something special that will be sure to warm the heart of your Valentine.
Article written by: Noah Wotring, Community Engagement Intern at Global Gifts