I used to live across the street from a brothel.
In 2012 my roommates and I noticed the glow of neon in the formerly vacant store front. I was curious and kind of excited to see what was moving onto our block. But night after night of noticing the open sign, the heavily draped windows, the incoherent signage, and the men that'd ring the doorbell and wait to be let in at all hours of the day - all red flags were up.
I was a student at the time, studying sociology and fine art. My research emphasized in the correlation of modern day slavery and the consumer market. I was aware of the signs of human trafficking, I knew the statistics, knew the numbers to call and the authorities to contact - but at the end of the day, I was powerless to stop what was happening literally 20 steps outside my door.
Human trafficking is incredibly complex. There are many factors that generate it, more that perpetuate it, and even more that make it hard to break. In summer of 2014, the "Warmer Massage" of 8th and Anza in San Francisco was finally shut down. Two and a half years. Despite my neighbors rallying and reporting against it, it still took us two and a half years.
It's impossible to look at this and not see that something is broken. The justice system, the lives of those involved, the publics' ability to turn a blind eye. It's impossible to see this without acknowledging that something needs to be done.
Dear Survivor is my attempt to right the wrongs I've seen. It is the combination of all my skills, passions, and resources. As a new company, I'm starting small. Initially, 10% of every dollar will be donated to an established organization working with trafficking Survivors in California. As of July 27, 2015, Dear Survivor has an official partnership with GenerateHope, a 501(c)(3) dedicated to helping human trafficking survivors. After much research and deliberation, I've chosen GenerateHope to partner with because of their establishment, reputation, and proven methods of rehabilitation. They provide "a safe place for survivors of sex trafficking to be restored through long-term housing, healing, psychotherapy and education." Please check out their website and consider donating directly to them at http://generatehope.org/. Big picture, Survivors will eventually be a part of the creative process. The vision is to be able to teach and employ those coming out of the program, and thus be able to create the products together.
All items are hand-crafted by me, here in my garage in San Diego, CA.
There's power in the consumer market - let's use it for good.
Christine Longoria Designer & Craftswoman