To create economic opportunities for survivors and women at risk of human trafficking by equipping them with skills to produce goods for the global market place.
Defining the Issue of Human Trafficking: Nomi Network defines human trafficking or modern day slavery as the condition of being held against one's will for the purpose of economic exploitation. Modern day slavery can be seen in the cocoa fields of Africa, within the walls of illegal brothels in Asia, and in the homes of wealthy diplomats who use domestic servants in the U.S. When defining the term, it is important to recognize that this crime does not always involve the movement of the victim from one country to another country.
Human trafficking can be broken up into many categories. The two largest categories are (1) labor trafficking, which includes debt bondage, and (2) sex trafficking. In both categories the traffickers and the consumers are benefiting through the consumption of goods or services.
Labor trafficking and debt bondage occurs when a trafficker is selling products or physical labor that their slaves are producing. Their profits usually come from sales further down the supply chain to corporate entities and consumers.
Human trafficking, particularly sex trafficking, creates a hugely profitable industry, possibly the most profitable illicit global industry. Direct servitude could also be defined as a facet of labor trafficking, where the trafficker is the direct recipient of profit but is also the consumer. Examples include domestic servants, child Restaviks in Haiti, and child soldiers.
Sex trafficking, or commercial exploitation, occurs when a trafficker sells sexual acts to a consumer who usually has direct contact with the sex slave, although film and the internet have created ways for this product to be consumed without direct contact with those enslaved.
Human trafficking, and particularly sex trafficking, create a hugely profitable industry. Human trafficking is said to be the most profitable illicit industry, growing quickly and surpassing the illegal sale of drugs and arms. However, numbers and statistics are very difficult to pinpoint because there is so much activity that is taking place behind closed doors. Comparatively, there has been a lack of resources allocated to sustainable research and analysis on the issue.
In 2007 Diana Mao traveled to Cambodia for a micro-finance research fellowship and met young girls that were exploited and were vulnerable to sex-trafficking. The stories of the girls compelled her to want to take action. Shortly after she returned to New York City, Diana met Alissa Moore, who had recently returned from a social justice conference where she learned about human trafficking for the first time. Together they took a trip to Cambodia to explore ways they could develop products that would create job opportunities for women at risk and survivors of human trafficking.
Nomi Network began with a simple embrace. Alissa Moore and Diana Mao visited a rehabilitation center for sexually abused and trafficked Cambodian children. They were welcomed by a special young girl named Nomi who smiled and threw her arms around them, befriending them immediately. Nomi is mentally disabled and her advocates at the shelter believe that the abuse she endured worsened her mental state. Nomi’s story inspired the creation of Nomi Network and the mission to aid vulnerable girls like her by providing the resources they need to access economic stability and transform their dark pasts into brighter futures. Nomi Network hopes to empower survivors and those at risk with the voice to say, "Know me, know my story, know my success™."
Upon returning from Cambodia, Diana was introduced to Supei Liu, an experienced Product Developer who had a similar vision to benefit women in impovershed communities through product creation. Supei joined Nomi Network enabling them to launch their pilot program Cambodia in 2009. Nomi Network has since blossomed into a passionate network of volunteers, partner organizations and activists who are involved with design, development, and distribution for the organization.
Nomi Network focuses on increasing the financial independence of women who are vulnerable to trafficking. We use a three-fold strategy:
- Improve the design and quality of the products they produce;
- Use modern marketing techniques to increase their access to the marketplace; and
- Increase our partner's capacity to hire more women at risk and survivors of human trafficking.
Our goal is to increase capacity for employers to provide living wages to populations women at-risk and survivors of human trafficking. In 2009-2010, we expanded our partner's to expand their workforce from 23 to 80 employees. We also partner with retailers and encourage consumers to purchase products made by women at risk or survivor's products.
Nomi Network focuses on increasing the financial independence of women and we:
Develop High Quality, Fashionable Products.
Increase capacity for employers to provide living wages to populations women at risk and survivors of human trafficking.
Partner with retailers and encourage consumers to increase demand for their products.
Developing Products and Talent
We understand market trends to create high quality products with significant value added.
We connect women at-risk and survivors of human trafficking to design talent and provide marketing insight to create fashionable products that are relevant to a global audience.
We invest product profits into education for at risk women to provide them with marketable skills and to propagate Nomi Network's efforts in training the women in leadership and sharing their skills with their communities.
We secure employment for these women with fair working conditions and wages.
We assist social enterprise employers in increasing their capacity.
Raising Awareness, Increasing Demand
We establish partnerships with recognized retailers and designers to distribute products.