The Loyal Workshop was founded to provide an opportunity for freedom. Modern day slavery is a phenomenon that we are not prepared to be apathetic about. We believe that another world is possible; a world where sex slavery is relegated to the history books. It’s a brazen dream but we’re putting it into action in one city, in one red-light community, with one woman at a time.
We believe that business can be a tool to bring freedom to those trapped in slavery. Our business IS about freedom. Every product we create is part of a woman’s freedom journey.
Our artisans: are women from backgrounds of poverty, each with their own story of trauma and oppression: sold, stolen, trafficked and forced against their will into the sex trade. Without prospect of finding alternative employment, they were trapped, but still with dreams, talents and larger than life personalities.
Our foreign staff: We are a team of five New Zealanders. The Founders launched their little family into the madness of Kolkata and dreamt of a new business that could help bring new hope to women trapped in the sex-trade. Now that dream is taking shape. Three fellow kiwis have joined us on the ground too, helping turn this dream into a reality. We also have a big support crew collaborating on this initiative with us.
We are smack-dab in the middle of bustling Kolkata, in an area called Bowbazar. Only a 5 minute walk from our workshop is the second largest red light area in Kolkata, where an estimated 1500-2000 women are still trapped in the sex trade.
New Zealand and India are about as opposite as can be. But we’ve found a home here. For a small country, there are a disproportionate number of kiwis in Kolkata. Historically there are special ties with New Zealanders sending people to serve in Kolkata, dating back as far as the 1800’s.
Beautiful things start small. We started with just five employees. The foundation of our business is people. These women are fast becoming loyal friends. They have complex lives full of abuse, poverty and oppression. To help them untangle themselves from oppressive situations takes time. And we’re not in any hurry. This business exists for them.
We ask you to stand with us, to show these women the loyal support they deserve. Buy a satchel. But even more than that, become an advocate for the woman who made your satchel. Her name is inside on the pocket and you can find out more about her on our meet the artisan page.
Tell her story. Stay true.