ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) – A local boutique is holding a bra drive to help women who have been rescued from human trafficking.
“The fight against human slavery is something that, not just the owner, but all of us who work there really believe in. So anything we can do to empower and make women financially stable and independent after human slavery is something we really believe in,” says Lauren Ricci, manager at Derriere de Soie in Roanoke.
From Sept. 18-21, Derriere de Soie, a women-owned bra fitting and intimate apparel store, is asking for donations of gently-used bras to support Free the Girls, a nonprofit organization dedicated to ending human trafficking and modern slavery around the world.
For many developing countries, bras are sought-after items for second-hand clothing merchants. The donations collected from the annual Bra Drive will be distributed to female survivors in El Salvador, Costa Rica, and Mozambique, areas where human trafficking is prevalent.
“When they do receive them, if there’s any little bit of repair needed, they’ll do that, and then they will sell them. This allows to have financial independence and not only just provide for themselves, but provide for their families,” says Ricci.
Interstate 81, one of the United State’s longest interstate highway systems running up and down the East Coast, is a major artery for drugs and human trafficking.
The boutique, which will be celebrating one year since it’s opening in October 2018, has already worked with several local community organizations like Angels of Assisi and the Bradley Free Clinic to support special causes.
“As a small business, we are part of the community. Not just by paying taxes, but by the fact that we interact with our customers every day. We interact with people on the street all the time and so being part of that Roanoke community […] it’s important you give back to the community that helps you too,” says Ricci.
Customers who donate to the Bra Drive will receive 20% off discounts on merchandise.
Donations can be dropped off in-store, located at 300 1st Street SW. The boutique is open Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Their Charlottesville Derriere de Soie location is also accepting donations for the Bra Drive from Sept. 16-21.