Three years ago, Diana Scimone returned from one of her many trips to Thailand to conduct research about human trafficking for her nonprofit The Born2Fly Project, with a suitcase full of beautiful handmade jewelry. "I was visiting shelters where women who have escaped from the sex trade live, and found that many of them were trying to make a living creating beaded necklaces, earrings and bracelets," says Diana, whose project seeks to educate children, parents, and teachers about the dangers of child trafficking with the ultimate goal of ending it. "I wasn't sure what I was going to do with the jewelry, but I knew someone who would have some ideas."
Diana showed the crafts to her friend Jané Gautier-Shadoin, who has been involved in many facets of fashion as a stylist, in sales, as well as entertainment/fashion event planning. Jane is a survivor herself: she lived in Biloxi, Mississippi when Hurricane Katrina hit and lost everything: her home, work, possessions, and more. Her heart went out to the women Diana was trying to help and that was the beginning of The Butterfly Project.
Each year millions of women and young girls all over the world-including the U.S.-are sold into sex slavery. Only a small percentage are rescued, and making jewelry and other crafts is the primary way they support themselves and the shelters where they live. "Purchasing this beautiful jewelry is a powerful way to help these women and girls experience the dignity, hope, and freedom to create something beautiful," explains Jane, who donates part of The Butterfly Project's earnings to Born2Fly and part directly to the shelters where the former sex slaves live while getting their lives back on-track. "It's a small step that makes a big difference. Something beautiful has come out of disaster."