Passionate about putting an end to human trafficking, Noor Tagouri is one young woman who is using fashion to shine a light on such a dark reality.
Often referred to as modern day slavery, DoSomething.org estimates that there are between 20 and 30 million people enslaved in the world today as a result of human trafficking.
Let that sink in for a second.
In addition to that statistic, the U.S. State Department is also reporting that 600,000 to 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders every year, of which 80 percent are female and half are children. Children.
And what’s even scarier than the numbers are the things these individuals are forced to do. According to the NHTRC (National Human Trafficking Resource Center), “traffickers use force, fraud, or coercion to control victims for the purpose of engaging in commercial sex acts, or labor services.” The sex aspect of trafficking may involve forcing women and minor children to work in “residential brothels, escort services, fake massage businesses, strip clubs, and street prostitution,” says the NHTRC. Furthermore, labor trafficking has been found in a variety of settings, including fashion production, as well as large farms, factories, small businesses, and domestic work.
Based on recent findings from the NHTRC, some of the highest reported incidences of human trafficking are happening in California, Texas, and Florida, which for many of us, may hit very close to home. With these epidemic-size proportions in our own backyards, it’s paramount that we put an end to such a frightening, devastating, and heinous violation of freedom and human rights. Although it may seem daunting based on the sheer gravity of the situation, every little bit of care, awareness, education, and activism helps.
Enter Noor Tagouri.
Currently on a quest to become the first hijab-wearing Muslim newscaster in America, this fearless female also has another cause that’s near and dear to her heart. Tagouri collaborated with clothing brand Lis’n Up to create a product line named after her campaign #LetNoorShine that will benefit Project Futures and the victims they help by donating 50 percent of the profits to the charity. Project Futures “is a not for profit organization working to end human trafficking and slavery by empowering individuals to take action in their communities,” with funds supporting victims and survivors through prevention, support services, and empowerment.
Tagouri said, in a piece she wrote for The Huffington Post, that she was inspired by “art, poetry, empowerment, and enlightenment,” especially since her first name, Noor, translates to “Light” in Arabic. Her goal was to create a visual representation of the cause with words and symbols, essentially “turning the people wearing the clothes into walking conversation starters.” Also inspired by the late American street artist, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and his quote, “I cross out words so you will see them more,” the collaboration between Tagouri and Lis’n Up resulted in a design that features the word “GIRL” crossed out so that they may “see our girls more.” The line is a limited edition collection consisting of shirts, hoodies, beanies, caps, and a varsity jacket, of which only 100 will be made, some of which are already sold out.
With hopes that this clothing will “take a step forward in forcing people to have that uncomfortable conversation of what is really happening to millions of our girls, from objectification, to the buying and selling of bodies for sex,” we’d say she’s doing a pretty great job. The line is modern, wearable, affordable, hip, and thanks to a thoughtful and thought-provoking spoken word piece written by Tagouri, it’s also very inspiring. On the back of every shirt and hoodie reads the following:
The Noor Effect
To ignite the blazing fire that is our girls.
Replace barcodes on bodies with those on books.
You can never sell her soul but society can profit from her thoughts.
Enlightenment and education to break free from the shackles of objectification.
She is a force to be reckoned with.
No longer held back because she has a voice and a passion.
She belongs to no one but herself.
Listen to her. Learn from her. Love her.
And there will be Noor.
With serious and widespread problems like human trafficking, we can’t expect to see results overnight, but we can talk to our loved ones and share the importance of safety and awareness. Until “our girls,” as Tagouri puts it, are kept safe from harm, the next best thing we can do is to help out in our communities and be able to recognize the signs of human trafficking. Check out the NHTRC’s guide on how to identify red flags and indicators of human trafficking. If you see something – say something! Share your thoughts with us regarding this sensitive issue on the EcoSalon Facebook page.
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Image of #LetNoorShine Clothing via Lis’n Up Clothing