Jump directly to the Content


How to Support Survivors Without Selling Them Out

A wave of social-good businesses learns to balance priorities.
How to Support Survivors Without Selling Them Out
Image: Courtesy of Hazel & Deene

As the founder of a social enterprise supporting vulnerable women, Michelle Pride sees how enthusiastic American Christians have become about ending trafficking—and unfortunately, how that enthusiasm can unwittingly lead to harmful outcomes instead.

Last year, a customer boasted about her church’s $20,000 campaign to purchase women out of the sex trade. Pride was horrified. “If you buy a girl out of the sex trade, you now have given that trafficker more money to go and buy somebody probably younger,” the Hazel and Deene president said.

With an issue as complicated as sex trafficking, companies like hers set out to design business models that benefit survivors without exploiting them further—while still paying attention to the bottom line.

Since the sex trade is often driven by financial gain, she believes sustainable business is an effective tool at fighting back and giving women at risk of sexual exploitation a way to live.

Entrepreneurs seeking to help this population may have a noble cause, but the reality brings additional barriers. Employees may bring the aftermath of their trauma with them and often lack marketable skills. How do you catch them up in a way that is efficient for the company and helpful for the individual?

Beyond that: How does a business meet its bottom line if it is solely relying on the trendiness of anti-sex trafficking to sell its products? And worst of all, where will employed survivors go if the business fails?

Pride and other ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview
To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.
Already a CT subscriber? for full digital access.

Read These Next

hide this
Access The Archives

Member-Only Access

Subscribe to Christianity Today to continue reading this article from CT's digital archives.


Already a subscriber? to continue reading.