It all started with Maya.
Two of our HOLOS team, Naomi and Megan, met Maya while in Cambodia working with survivors of human trafficking. Maya was trapped on the streets, trying to support five children. She was desperate, and didn't have a pathway out of what her life had become.
As they got to know her, Naomi and Megan realised that Maya had a passion for nail art. So they spoke with their hotel, and asked if Maya could come and do manicures in the hotel lobby for guests. They supplied her with a start-up nail kit. And in that moment, the seeds of an idea were born: what if a business could be created, which would provide employment and freedom for people like Maya?
You see, this one small act turned Maya's life around. She was great at nail art. She took the opportunity that had been given to her with both hands, and her business started to grow. A year later she was off the streets, and her children were thriving - in school, safe and happy. A cycle had been broken.
You may not know this, but there are tens of thousands of Mayas in the UK today. Some of them are working in the sex trade. Others are forced into domestic servitude, manual labour or criminal activity. Wherever you are sitting right now, you are probably only a few metres from a modern-day slave. And even if all slaves were freed tomorrow, 40% would end up being re-trafficked, through a combination of vulnerability and lack of opportunity.
Many of our team had worked with survivors of trafficking, through various anti-trafficking charities. We started to dream about creating a socially purposeful business to raise funds that would support survivors of trafficking, and provide them with the opportunities and confidence they need to break the cycle of re-trafficking and find wholeness and freedom.
So, that’s the start of the story. Our vision now is to pioneer a new way of socially purposeful business - providing training and employment opportunities for trafficked women, and doing our bit to fight for justice on one of the most critical social issues of our time.