AIM Manages the Training Center
The Scarlet Seed Story
A Cord of Three Strands is Not Easily Broken
Frequently Asked Questions
Our common cause is to fight against sex trafficking around the world. We will not accept the status quo. We will not accept evils that we do not agree with. We will not close our eyes and pretend it doesn’t exist or affect us. Sex trafficking is not just a third world problem - it is in our backyards.
3Strands was created to support organizations already engaged in the fight against sex trafficking. We began by partnering with Agape International Missions (AIM) www.agapewebsite.org to open training centers in Cambodia for girls rescued from sex trafficking and restored through AIM's proven program. Girls rescued from sex trafficking need well paying, sustainable jobs so they can reintegrate back into their community with honor and dignity. The Agape Training Center (ATC) is a small jewelry and apparel production center unlike any we know of in the world. Instead of the typical 12-hour shift in horrible working conditions, the girls attend the ATC 8 hours a day. During that time, they receive counseling and educational services as well as lunch and medical benefits. Their salaries are 3 – 4 times higher than what the typical garment factory pays. This is a community, built upon respect and compassion for one another and the feeling of a family environment is what surrounds you when you visit the center.
AIM Manages the Training Center
3Strands designed the unique, waxed cotton cord bracelets and then purchases the products from the Agape Training Center to market and distribute. AIM's proven and successful rescue and restore process is being sought after in other countries including the United States and 3Strands plans to support AIM's growth globally through funds generated from product sales.
The Scarlet Seed Story
The red seeds featured on all 3Strands bracelets can be discovered if one looks into the pods, which grow on Sandalwood trees, native to Cambodia. The colorless pods eventually dry up and fall to the ground and are forgotten, stepped over like trash as they blow away in the wind. To Don Brewster, the founder of AIM, these pods are representative of how the Cambodian culture sees a child coming out of a brothel – as trash. But inside these dried up pods are beautiful, glossy, scarlet seeds that in their natural beauty, created by God, represents the beauty in each of the girls who have been freed, loved and empowered with a hope for the future. As each 3Strands bracelet is made by hand, with love, the girls incorporate the red Sandlewood seed in the design reminding them of their beauty within as they proudly sign their name to each bracelet.
A Cord of Three Strands is Not Easily Broken
When people gather, communicate and strategize together - there is strength. When individuals, groups, organizations and companies become intertwined into a community focused on a common cause – there is strength.
It has to start somewhere. It has to start sometime. There is no better time than now. We are a community and with the strength of working together, we can bring freedom, love and empowerment (3Strands) to girls trapped in sexual slavery that give them hope for a future.
Together, we can make a difference! See the many ways you can get involved.
The partners of 3Strands are the same partners who own Apricot Lane, a successful U.S. chain of franchised women's fashion boutiques, with 100+ stores open and planned retail stores currently in 29 States. The CEO, Ken Petersen, of Apricot Lane became aware of the sex trafficking problem when he heard Don Brewster, of AIM (Agape International Missions) Founder/Executive Director, speak in his church about the young Cambodian children who were victims of sex trafficking. Brewster spoke about AIM's mission to rescue and restore the lives of these young women through AIM’s program ( www.agapewebsite.org ). Apricot Lane is known for giving back to their communities through local charities. The partners and franchisees were compelled to help bring about change and awareness to this issue and in turn, provide funding to support AIM's growth.
To create a global brand that is recognized for unique, quality, handmade jewelry, accessories and apparel. To employ victims of sex trafficking in an environment infused with love, compassion, education and training. To create a brand that consumers can enjoy and promote knowing that their purchases and involvement are helping to free, love and empower girls rescued from sex trafficking.
The products are all handmade by the girls. In every piece of 3Strands jewelry a seed from the Sandal wood tree - native of Cambodia - is included to represent the life of a Cambodian child rescued from sex trafficking - ready to grow because of the efforts of 3Strands, AIM and Agape Training Center ( ATC ) . Proceeds from sales help to fund Agape International Mission. Shop Now!
3Strands is a fashion brand created to fund the Agape Training Center (ATC) in Cambodia, which teaches girls over 16 years old skills to be empowered in the workplace and allows them to be financially stable after being rescued from human trafficking (sexual slavery) by the Agape International Mission (AIM). AIM rescues and restores girls in a loving and protected environment.
Frequently Asked Questions - FAQs
Q. What is 3Strands?
A. 3Strands is a fashion brand created to fund the Agape Training Center (ATC) in Svay Pak, Cambodia. ATC teaches women over 16 years old skills to be empowered in the workplace and allows them to be financially stable after being rescued from human trafficking. At ATC, the women are paid a much higher wage than what is normally found in their country, attend school and also create the 3Strands brand. Human trafficking has been identified as the fastest growing criminal industry in the world, second only to drug trafficking. Agape International Missions (AIM) works to rescue these women from the horrific life they have endured and restore them. 3Strands symbolizes that the strength of a cord (3 strands) is not easily broken and each strand represents the Freedom, Love and Empowerment process that AIM provides.
Q. How was AIM founded?
A. AIM was founded as a church planting ministry in 1988 by Moses and Samantha Seth survivors of the killing fields. In 2005, Don Brewster became the CEO and changed the direction to focus on prevention, rescue, restoration and equipping. The church plant arm of the ministry continues under Moses direction and includes an emphasis on prevention. Since 2005 Bridget and I have founded ARC, Rahab's House, Agape Home, the Lord's Gym, and ATC.
Q. What exactly is sex trafficking?
(from the Sex Trafficking Fact Sheet)
A. Sex trafficking is a modern-day form of slavery in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such an act is under the age of 18 years. Enactment of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA) made sex trafficking a serious violation of Federal law.
The TVPA also recognizes labor trafficking, which is discussed in a separate fact sheet.
As defined by the TVPA, the term ‘commercial sex act’ means any sex act on account of which anything of value is given to or received by any person.
The TVPA recognizes that traffickers use psychological and well as physical coercion and bondage, and it defines coercion to include: threats of serious harm to or physical restraint against any person; any scheme, plan, or pattern intended to cause a person to believe that failure to perform an act would result in serious harm to or physical restraint against any person; or the abuse or threatened abuse of the legal process.
Victims of sex trafficking can be women or men, girls or boys, but the majority are women and girls. There are a number of common patterns for luring victims into situations of sex trafficking, including:
• A promise of a good job in another country
• A false marriage proposal turned into a bondage situation
• Being sold into the sex trade by parents, husbands, boyfriends
• Being kidnapped by traffickers
Sex traffickers frequently subject their victims to debt-bondage, an illegal practice in which the traffickers tell their victims that they owe money (often relating to the victims’ living expenses and transport into the country) and that they must pledge their personal services to repay the debt.
Sex traffickers use a variety of methods to “condition” their victims including starvation, confinement, beatings, physical abuse, rape, gang rape, threats of violence to the victims and the victims’ families, forced drug use and the threat of shaming their victims by revealing their activities to their family and their families’ friends
Victims face numerous health risks. Physical risks include drug and alcohol addiction; physical injuries (broken bones, concussions, burns, vaginal/anal tearings); traumatic brain injury (TBI) resulting in memory loss, dizziness, headaches, numbness; sexually transmitted diseases (e.g., HIV/AIDS, gonorrhea, syphilis, UTIs, pubic lice); sterility, miscarriages, menstrual problems; other diseases (e.g., TB, hepatitis, malaria, pneumonia); and forced or coerced abortions.
Psychological harms include mind/body separation/disassociated ego states, shame, grief, fear, distrust, hatred of men, self-hatred, suicide, and suicidal thoughts. Victims are at risk for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) – acute anxiety, depression, insomnia, physical hyper- alertness, self-loathing that is long-lasting and resistant to change (complex-PTSD).
Victims may also suffer from traumatic bonding – a form of coercive control in which the perpetrator instills in the victim fear as well as gratitude for being allowed to live.
National Human Trafficking Resource Center 1.888.3737.888
Q. How is the Movie The Pink Room tied to 3Strands?
A. The Pink Room shows how girls progress through our ministry. A number of girls shown in the Pink Room currently work at ATC.
Q. Are these young women receiving continued counseling while at ATC?
A. Yes, as needed. The girls receive Trauma Focused - Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT). TF-CBT was first developed to treat sexually abused children, but is now used for victims of any kind of trauma. It targets trauma-related symptoms in children including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), clinical depression and anxiety. Recent studies have found that sexually abused children undergoing TF-CBT improved more than children undergoing certain other therapies.
Q. What are the conditions like in Cambodia?
A. Cambodia is suffering from a unique genocide, not experienced by any other country in history. In all other genocides there were winning and losing sides, thus the religious, educational and family structures of society remained through the winning side. The Khmer Rouge conducted it's genocide across the entire country by the following actions:
• Educated people and educational system was destroyed.
• The Buddhist religion and it's teachers destroyed.
• The family structure was destroyed as children (today's parents) were used to torture and even execute their own parents.
Add to this recent history abject poverty and government corrupt, and you have a perfect storm of conditions that makes the evil of child sex trafficking rampant.
Q. Why was 3Strands started?
A. To bring together our resources and connections in the fashion retail and franchising industries, intertwining them to create a position of strength to support AIM and other non-profit organizations in their efforts to rescue, restore and bring hope to victims of sex-trafficking all around the world.
Q. Can anyone be a distributor of the 3 Strands brand and if so, how?
A. 3Strands will wholesale products to qualified retailers with a resale license. Other programs are available for churches and non-profits to raise money through the sale of 3Strands products.
Q. 50% of the profits goes back to the young women in Cambodia. Where does the other 50% go?
A. 3Strands is a for profit company. We are launching a brand with a cause and mission to fight the evils of sex trafficking - similar to what TOMS Shoes does for children that need shoes. We are committed to donating 50% of our profits towards this cause and are excited to launch the brand on August 15th!
Q. How many bracelets can the young women make a day?
A. Average is about 20/day.
Q. How many boxes?
A. About 30/day.
Q. Where does the food come from that they eat during their breaks and meals? Is it provided for them? (cooking, cleaning, serving etc. is done on a rotation type schedule among the young women)
A. We provide a free lunch for all the girls that we all eat together and have a hired part-time cook to prepare the meal, clean the kitchen/dining area, etc.
Q. How many of the young women are moms themselves and who watches their children while they work?
A. 10 of our young women are moms. 2 are currently on maternity leave with newborns. A few of the children are old enough to go to school at the Rahab's House school. For the kids that are too young to start school, we have a free full-time daycare at the training center, so the moms can see them during their breaks and lunch. Some of the children are watched by their family (grandma, etc.) at home.
Q. What type of education are they receiving?
A. Khmer academic (focus math, reading and writing) and English language
Q. Where are these young women living while working at the Training Center?
A. Some live independently (some in groups)., others at Agape Home/Rahab's House
Q. How many young women can be employed at the training center at a time?
A. 80 per ATC. Keeping size small purposely.
Q. When will the first US component to AIM be opened and what services will it provide for those effected in the US by sex trafficking?
A. October 2012 - The same holistic care provided at ARC, but while living with a family.
Q. How can I help?
A. By spreading the awareness of 3Strands and the mission behind it we are creating awareness of the evils of this horrific crime in hopes of rescuing even more girls as time goes on and leading them to a life of freedom, love and empowerment. Here's How to Get Involved!