MEETING THE TEAM AT FREE TO SHINE HQ

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About a year ago when I started BE FREE YOGA and began holding ‘practice for freedom’ yoga classes to raise funds for Project Futures, an acquaintance sent me an email suggesting that I might be interested in Free To Shine – a really cool Australian founded grass roots organization based in Cambodia that believe children should be in schools, not brothels, so they work to prevent sex trafficking by empowering young girls in the rural villages with an education.

I had a look at their website and absolutely loved what they were doing. There are heaps of NGOs in Cambodia that are rescuing young women and children from the sex trade in Cambodia, which is great, but very few programs are geared toward preventing sex trafficking in the first place. For every girl that is rescued from the brothels, traffickers are straight back out into the rural villages to get a new girl to replace the one that was rescued. How great would it be if none of these girls ended up in the brothels to begin with?

IMG_3689A few days later, the universe did what is does and I got a call from a really cool chick, Victoria Van Houdt, who wanted to hold a ‘practice for freedom’ yoga class in Brisbane, but wanted to know if it was ok if half the funds raised went to Free To Shine (an organization that she volunteered for!) and the other half to Project Futures. Victoria joined me on this recent trip Cambodia and is now an official member of the BE FREE YOGA team. We haven’t decided on a job title yet, but it will be something along the lines of Be Free Yoga Lawyer/Psychologist/Organiser/Planner/Business Development Manager. She’s really, really qualified.
Thanks to Victoria reaching out all those months ago, Free To Shine is now a part of our movement and we have seven ambassadors based in Australia and the US holding regular ‘practice for freedom’ yoga classes to raise funds to enroll girls in their program. In the last six months we have raised enough to enroll 27 girls, girls who’s chances of being trafficked and exploited are drastically reduced and who have a brighter future due to the education they are receiving. It makes me so happy each time I receive pictures of the girls we have helped thanks to Free To Shine.

My own daughter, Harper, starts school next year. I feel blessed that she was born in the right place, at the right time so that this is possible, because for millions of girls her age around the world, it is not. I think we have a responsibility to ensure all girls in the world get the same chance.

Since I was going to be in the area visiting AFESIP, Nicky Mih, Free To Shine’s beautiful founder and CEO, invited me to their head office in Siem Reap to meet the team and get a clearer insight of the work they are doing. Oh, and we thought I may as well teach the EEOs yoga while I was there.

IMG_3830ftsblogFree to Shine’s head office really lived up to it’s name, it was warm and bright and love at first sight when I met the team.  Before we practiced, the Education Outreach Officers took me through the process of how they identify girls at high risk of being trafficked in the rural villages and how they go about enrolling them into their scholarship program. I was so inspired by their passion and commitment to help these young girls and realized that this wasn’t just a job for them, they genuinely cared. And because many of them haven’t had an easy journey in getting an education themselves, they have a deep understanding of what these families are going through and relate to the girls easily.

They explained to me the whole process – how they regularly go out into the rural villages, and when I say rural, I mean rural! An initial assessment is done with the girl and her family, and their team begin gathering information from neighbours, the local village leader and the school director. They identify the girls most likely to be targeted by traffickers. Then a detailed application is submitted to their Leadership Team and upon enrolment onto their program each girl receives a uniform and a bike, a bag full of books and pens and off she goes to school.

Their team in Cambodia then visits with each girl regularly, to provide ongoing support and encouragement – a key part of keeping her safe and in ???????????????????????????????school. They reiterate the importance of education, encourage the parents to support their children in continuing their studies, and even teach that a university education is possible. They not only support the girl’s education, they also guide her and her family and help them problem solve.

Each time their Education Officers visit the girls, they change her library book, which the girls LOVE!. All of their books are in their local language, and have pictures of Cambodian children in Cambodian villages, so they are culturally appropriate. Some of them even have the English translation with them which is great for those girls beginning to learn English.

Some of the girls do not have adequate housing. They currently live in houses with so many holes in the walls and roof that they get very wet and cannot sleep when it rains, and in the rainy season it rains a lot! Some of the girls live in houses that are completely missing walls. Free To Shine have built 2 new houses so far, with another one planned.

It’s not an easy job, and the EOOs face many challenges, which they shared with Victoria and me. But mostly we heard good stories, the EEOs preferring to share their successes rather than challenges, and from what we heard, they have done so much good and have helped so many girls. So far they have enrolled 247 girls in their program and raised over $300 000.

I told them about yoga and explained that they were actually doing yoga each time they travelled to the villages to help these young girls because compassion and helping others is a part of yoga. Nicky told me that last week that Veasna, one of the EOOs, said that he was going out to the village to do yoga. This made me smile. These guys really are yogis in a way.

IMG_3854ftsblog After hearing all their amazing stories and learning about the work they do, it was time to get our OM on! We all headed upstairs and I taught the funniest, least serious yoga class I have ever taught. All of them have a great sense of humour which became most evident while I was trying to teach them yoga.  At the end of the class, after a very short Savasana, there was a pose off, which really isn’t yogic, but it was funny. Veasna effortlessly pulled out Mayurasana (Peacock pose), even though he’s never done yoga and another EEO told us that he had spent time training to be a Monk when he was a child. They were a very interesting bunch and I enjoyed spending time with them. It gave me peace of mind to know that the girls in this program were in such good and loving hands.

I often hear people say that they don’t trust NGOs in countries like Cambodia because there’s so much corruption and they can’t be sure where their money is going. This is part of the reason why I wanted to visit the NGOs that BE FREE YOGA supports. While I have always trusted whole heartedly the organsiations that we support, I want to be able to say to people, “I have been there and seen for myself the great work that these organisations are doing. I’ve met the young girls who have been touched by these programs and see how they shine despite the darkness that surrounds them.” Now I can.

Countries like Cambodia need NGOs to fill the gaps in government social and economic policies. Just because there may be a few dodgy NGOs, doesn’t mean we should throw our hands up in the air and refuse to help based on the premise that we cant be sure that our contribution will make a difference. Nothing in life is a sure thing and outcomes are generally not within our control, but the business of philanthropy requires a certain degree of faith. Most of the time, when you give, good comes from it.

I can personally guarantee that if you give to Free To Shine, some good will come to some little girl, who might otherwise have had a lot of bad coming her way.

If you’ve got a moment, I strongly urge you to watch Nicky Mih’s video (link below) about the sex trafficking trade in Cambodia and how she came to create Free To Shine. Nicky is one of the most beautiful, honest, compassionate and caring people I have ever met and I admire her deeply for what she is doing. Don’t hesitate to support this organization. What they are doing is making a difference.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=8Xfwzwt0XZs

Visit to AFESIP Cambodia

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What an amazing, humbling, awe inspiring, eye opening and emotional journey.

During my recent trip to Cambodia, I visited AFESIP’s shelters for trafficking survivors in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap and saw with my own eyes the amazing work they are doing and the positive impact their program has had on the women who reside there.

My intention with BE FREE YOGA was not just about raising awareness and funds to help support organisations like AFESIP, I had also always planned to somehow make yoga available to sex trafficking survivors at shelters like this all around the world as part of their rehabilitation and healing.

Those of us who practice yoga, understand the mind body connection and how trauma is held in the body. Yoga is a way back to the self, a way to reconnect, to heal, to let go deeply, to find our rhythm, to become whole, unified, to reclaim our body, cultivate present moment awareness and find our peace.

While talk therapy is useful in working through trauma, it is not enough. It deals with the mind only. I am determined to make yoga accessible for trafficking survivors all over the world, because I truly believe that no matter what people have been through, they have the capacity to heal themselves if they are open and willing and have the tools.

I had planned to teach yoga to the girls at each shelter during my stay, as well as spend time with the Psychologists that support them, sharing my knowledge of trauma sensitive yoga so that they could start to integrate some yoga therapy into their sessions with the girls.

The yoga classes went really well and I felt that the girls loved it. I certainly loved teaching them.

IMG_3947It takes a lot of courage to try yoga, to be in your body, to turn your attention inward and be with whatever is when you’ve been through what they have been through. They were brave, open, receptive and very giggly. Not what I had imagined. They touched my heart deeply and I feel so grateful to have been given the opportunity to share yoga with them. We may not speak the same language or share the same experiences, but there is something about practicing together, moving and breathing in synchronicity that makes you feel deeply connected with one another.

 

IMG_3989 I also enjoyed spending time with the Psychologists at each centre and was pretty pumped to learn that Vechheka, the Psychologist working at AFESIP’s Siem Reap centre had incorporated yoga therapy into her program. She sent me some photos of the girls reading their yoga books, meditating and practicing yoga in their new building on their new JADE yoga mats (that were kindly donated by EMP Industrials) and it moved me to tears. I’m not sure how big an impact my visit would have had on the girls at these shelters, but all I can do is plant a seed and hope that something will grow from this. Vechheka is super keen to do her yoga teacher training, so BE FREE YOGA will sponsor her to do it next year. That way the girls will have a qualified yoga teacher at the shelter there to guide them and hopefully inspire some of them to also become yoga teachers.

As is the nature of life, with the highs come the lows, and while I enjoyed spending time with the girls and the staff, observing all the good they had achieved, I also learnt just how dire AFESIP’s future is due to the negative influence of the media over the last few months. So here I was, finally teaching yoga to the girls at AFESIP’s Tom Dy centre in Phnom Penh, only to discover afterward that they were actually having to close their doors before the end of the year due to lack of funding. One girl was even turned away while I was teaching a class. I felt pretty upset to say the least. It became clear that yoga wasn’t a high priority on AFESIP’s list right now and what they really needed was more financial support.

IMG_3782Without going into too much detail about the controversy surrounding AFESIP’s, founder, Somaly Mam, in a nut shell,  Newsweek recently made it their mission to take Somaly Mam down by discrediting her story as a sex trafficking survivor. ‘Somaly Mam: Holy Saint (and sinner) of sex trafficking’ made for a great headline, but Somaly is neither saint or sinner, she is simply human, and a beautiful one at that, who has helped thousands of women and children in Cambodia escape a life of sex slavery. Regardless of what the words in her book say, it’s her actions that speak to my heart.

Besides, the question shouldn’t be “is Somaly Mam a sinner or a saint?” It should be, “has Somaly’s organisation had a positive or a negative impact on the plight of marginalized women in Cambodia?” I’m not an expert, nor do I have all the facts, but I do trust my instinct, and based on my own experience teaching yoga to the girls and working with the staff at AFESIP, I feel strongly that the impact that AFESIP has had is a positive one.

There are many different perceptions, but only one reality. Often we are strongly influenced by things outside of ourselves and our perceptions become so distorted by what we see in the media and hear from other people, that we lose touch with what is real. The young women and girls who have been rescued from sex slavery and given shelter, love, food, rehabilitation, as well as job training skills by AFESIP, are real. But sadly now they face an uncertain future because of a few journalists’ very narrow perception based around Somaly Mam and her ‘story’.

Many individuals and organisations, most notably the Somaly Mam Foundation have dumped AFESIP as a beneficiary in light of these recent media claims against Somaly Mam, so as a result, the girls at these shelters are the ones who will suffer deeply.

I hope people will be willing to open their mind, take a step back and see clearly the bigger picture and continue to support the great work AFESIP is doing. It is such an incredible organization that has done so much to help exploited women in Cambodia and shed light on the global sex trafficking trade.

Buddha himself said “Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.”

BE FREE YOGA still stands behind AFESIP and will continue to raise funds to support them through our ‘Practice for Freedom’ movement. For more information about AFESIP or to make a donation, please visit www.afesip.org

 

BE FREE FRIDAY – Sep ’05

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Yep, we’ve started our own day – September ‘05 is now BE FREE FRIDAY!

We’re calling on the yoga community, students and teachers alike, to join us in the movement to END HUMAN TRAFFICKING by holding a ‘Practice For Freedom’ event on this day. Your event can be anything you want it to be, a yoga class in the park or at your local studio, a dinner party or movie night with family, friends and fellow yogis…you are only limited by your imagination. If you hold a regular yoga class on this day, turn it into a ‘practice for freedom’ event by donating the proceeds to our cause.

Once you’ve come up with a fundraising idea, post something promoting your event on Facebook or Instagram using the hashtag #practiceforfreedom and tag BE FREE YOGA. Then invite your networks and ask them to make a donation to help combat human trafficking.

Donate the proceeds from your event to PROJECT FUTURES (www.projectfutures.com) or FREE TO SHINE via our website HERE.

This campaign is just as much about raising awareness about slavery as it is about raising money for victims, so spread the word and inform your guests about the harsh reality of human trafficking. Let them know:

  • There are an estimated 20 – 30 million people enslaved in the world today, more than at any other time in history
  • Half of whom are just children, some as young as 4 years old
  • UNICEF estimates that more than 2 million children are sold into sex slavery every year
  • Slaves are subjected to rape, physical and mental torture, horrific living conditions, starvation, forced abortions, as well as threats made against their life and their families lives
  • Women and girls make up 98% of victims of trafficking for sexual servitude
  • Slavery is not confined to the developing world, Australia is also a destination country for human trafficking
  • People all around the world (including our own backyard) are forced to work against their will without pay in factories, brothels, farms, mines, restaurants, and as domestic slaves.

Taking away a person’s freedom and exploiting them for financial gain is an incomprehensible violation of human rights. Community awareness and education is the first step towards abolishing these practices. The more that this subject is brought into the spotlight and discussed openly, the more pressure we can put on governments to take action and the more chance we have of changing cultural attitudes towards slavery.

If you’ve ever thought you’d like to be part of the solution to some of the world’s problems, then this is your chance.

Take part in BE FREE FRIDAY on Sep 05 and help END SLAVERY. The Australian Yoga Journal will be featuring someone who takes part in the campaign in their Nov/Dec issue. You will also be in with a chance to WIN a Lululemon prize back including a yoga mat, towel and water bottle. So get involved.

 

 

 

HOW I GOT HERE

I’ve been asked on a few occasions about how I came to create BE FREE YOGA, so here’s a bit about my journey in the movement to end human trafficking thus far.
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I first became aware of slavery on a trip to Thailand in 2000 when I picked up a book (the name of which I can’t for the life of me remember) about sex trafficking in South East Asia. As I walked through the red light district of Phuket after reading the book, it became abundantly clear to me that most of the girls working were not there by choice. I found this reality heartbreaking and my fire to act as an advocate for these women was stoked.

In 2004, my eyes were opened even wider when I travelled to Kathmandu to work as a Journalist at Nepal’s National Daily Newspaper, The Rising Nepal. I befriended a Photo Journalist who welcomed me into his home in a village on the outskirts of Kathmandu. He had a beautiful wife and two lovely children, a boy and a girl, but there was another boy that lived in the home with them and it was obvious he wasn’t a family member. Unlike Rajesh’s son, who looked well fed, wore decent clothing and attended school every day, this other boy, Rambo, was skinny, dressed in rags, and never left the house. He helped Rajesh’s wife cook all the meals and clean the house.

When I asked Rajesh who the boy was and why was he not at school, Rajesh simply replied that he had done a local farmer a favor by taking the boy off his hands and providing him with food and shelter in return for help around the house. The exact age of Rambo I do not know (neither did Rajesh), but he looked about 9 years old and he was essentially a domestic slave.

Needless to say I was horrified and left Rajesh’s home immediately to stay on my own in the city.  Regrettably however, I did nothing to help Rambo. Like a lot of westerners who travel to these parts of the world and witness this kind of human rights violations, I threw my hands up in the air and told myself “what could I do, this is just part of their culture, nothing I say or do is going to change anything”.  Unfortunately, it’s this kind of attitude that keeps slavery alive and thriving.

Children Chained[1]During my time at the paper, Rajesh had also photographed three girls, aged between four and ten, who were discovered in Bungamati after being chained up in thatched huts for over a year.  The man who had kept the girls was arrested, and faced a mere one year jail sentence and a further 10 years if medical tests revealed that the girls were sexually abused.  I never heard anything more about those girls, but their images have stayed with me always.

I was also informed by a local activist about a village in Nepal where all the women were born into sex slavery. It become abundantly clear to me, slavery was rife in Nepal, and in fact most of the world.

For a long time, I wanted to do something to help end slavery, but had no idea where to start. Anytime I even started to think about it, I’d just feel so overwhelmed and paralysed by the problem.

I volunteered on the odd occasion for various human rights organizations and about four years ago organized a screening of Justin Dillion’s film ‘Call & Response’ to raise awareness about human trafficking in my local community. I was put in touch with Stephanie Lorenzo at Project Futures to help with the PR for this campaign and she sent me Somaly Mam’s book, The Road of Lost Innocence. I was incredibly inspired by Somaly’s story about her life as a sex slavery survivor in Cambodia and her work rescuing young women and children from the brothels in Cambodia. I felt such a strong pull to help Somaly and the girls at AFESIP (the shelters she helped build for survivors of trafficking).

Even though there has been a lot of controversy surrounding Somaly and the legitimacy of her back story over the past few months, I still admire her so much for the work she has done. Somaly has shone such a bright light on sex trafficking and inspired so many people to take action, including both myself and Stephanie Lorenzo from Project Futures.

I told Stephanie that I wanted to help raise funds for Project Futures by doing a DIY event, but it took me over four years to get my act together and organize something.

After the birth of my second child Ari, I started to deepen my yoga practice, which led me to the idea of BE FREE YOGA. Yoga has helped me so much during my struggles as a mum and it has also helped me to see very clearly how I could apply my skills and my passion to contribute to this plight. I did my Level 1 Yoga Teacher Training with Michelle Merrifield at Essence of Living with the intention of taking Trauma Sensitive yoga to survivors of sex trafficking at rehabilitation centres around the world.

I wanted to create an organisation that would provide a platform to empower other like minded individuals to take action and contribute in some way. The yoga community is such a compassionate, loving and interconnected group of people, one that I felt was being under utilized in this effort to combat human trafficking. Hence BE FREE YOGA was born.

In the last month alone, we have had 17 beautiful yoginis from around the world come on board as Be Free Yoga Ambassadors holding regular ‘practice for freedom’ classes to raise awareness and funds for our partners Project Futures and Free To Shine.

It feels good to finally be in my flow, following my own rhythm, doing what my heart has always told me to do. If you feel this way, join our movement and contact us today about ‘teaching for freedom’.

If you ever see anything that doesn’t sit quite right with you, no matter where in the world you are, if it is within your power to do something, then just do it and don’t just write it off as a cultural norm. Genital mutilation, child marriage, honour killings, child rape and slavery are all culturally acceptable in many parts of the world, but that certainly doesn’t make them alright.

As Edmund Burke once said, “all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing”.

 

 

Stella Fella 2014 – GET BEHIND IT!

PROJECT FUTURES ‘Stella Fella‘ campaign is underway and we want you to get involved! 

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WHAT IS STELLA FELLA?
The Stella Fella campaign is an initiative of PROJECT FUTURES, providing an online platform to educate men in the community about the issue of human trafficking and sexual exploitation and to encourage them to become part of the solution. They achieve this by highlighting and recognising ‘stella’ men in the community who will take the lead and set a precedent of support with zero tolerance for behaviours which can facilitate exploitation in various forms.

The online campaign was launched in June 2014, and we encourage the community to participate by:

This year two winners will be donned the 2014 ‘Stella Fellas’ with the new ‘young stella fella’ category being implemented. There will be three finalists in each award section. There are amazing prizes to be won including a place on the next Project Futures International Challenge adventure in Cambodia. The winner will also have the opportunity to work with the PROJECT FUTURES team over the following year to help raise awareness about this cause within the male community.

STELLA FELLA FRIDAY – 15 AUGUST 2014

Stella Fella Friday will be held on Friday 15th August 2014.

This day is about bringing attention to the values and ideals that we as a community hold in esteem and admire in our male friends, colleagues and family members – respect, integrity and a commitment to protect and value women in their lives and the lives of others. Stella Fella Friday intends to raise awareness about this international concern in the Australian community and bring us together in a fun way through the wearing of bow ties – a simple yet distinctive accessory that is our symbol of chivalry.

PROJECT FUTURES is collaborating with businesses, celebrities, schools, universities and local councils to inform them of this initiative so that on Friday 15 August thousands of men and women in the community will proudly wear their Stella Fella bow ties. They want to encourage conversations that raise awareness about this issue and by buying a Stella Fella bow tie the community is raising funds for the important work of their project partner The Salvation Army’s Safe House.

MERCHANDISE

Silk bow ties and pocket handkerchiefs have been especially designed and produced by Belmondo for PROJECT FUTURES and will be sold nationally through our online store. $30 from every bow tie sold and $15 from every handkerchief is being donated to their project partner who works directly with victims and survivors of human trafficking in Australia.

Bow Tie Clips similar to ribbons that are purchased on awareness days and are also sold online in boxes, where people can actively engage in the campaign by selling them at their workplace, school or university. Our Bow Tie Clips are produced by AFESIP Fair Fashion, a social business that provides employment to survivors of sexual servitude in Cambodia.

Project Futures are excited to announce that you can pre-buy our dapper new range of Stella Fella bow ties – visit their shop here: http://shop.stellafella.com

 

EAST COAST EVENTS AND BLACK TIE FINALE BALL

Brisbane Finals Event:

31st July, Jubilee Hotel Fortitude Valley

Melbourne Finals Event:

7th August, Howler Bar, Brunswick

Special Performance by Gossling

Canberra Finals Event:

14th August, The Loft, Duxton

Sydney Black Tie Finale Ball:

16th August, Pavilion Darling Harbour

 

For more information visit www.stellafella.com or www.projectfutures.com

For media enquires, interviews or to request celebrity images please contact:

contact@projectfutures.com

 

 

 

HALF THE SKY by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn

Sometimes the world’s problems can seem so vast and endless that we find ourselves feeling helpless and overwhelmed as to how to go about fixing them. This book is a start.

Husband and wife journalists and co-authors, Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, have seen their fair share of suffering throughout the developing world, having reported largely on women’s issues for many years. They have taken examples of the brutality inflicted on women throughout Africa, Asia and the Middle East, that they have personally seen and put it onto words, to form ‘HALF THE SKY’, a book that will open your eyes, pierce your heart, and inspire you to take action.

‘Half The Sky’ is a mouth piece for oppressed women around the world who share their all too common stories of suffering as a result of being female, and how they rose above despair and empowered themselves thanks to grassroots efforts that provided them with basic healthcare and education. Their powerful stories are guaranteed to move you.

While those of us (myself included) lucky enough to be born in the West sit back and bitch about our ‘first world problems’, our sisters in the developing world endure honour killings, genital mutilation, sex slavery, mass rape, infanticide, child marriage, acid attacks, fistulas/internal ruptures due to prolonged labours, and gender based beatings on a daily basis.

According to the authors, it’s not enough to simply feed the hungry, cure the sick and rescue the enslaved. The main message they deliver is that education and empowerment of women, is what is needed in order to achieve real change and end this injustice.

An educated woman knows her rights and is less likely to be trafficked or married off young, reducing her risk of maternal mortality, aids, or suffering from fistulas – a horrific condition that develops as a result of prolonged labour leaving the woman incontinent and often resulting in death if untreated.

Educated women are able provide income for their families and are more likely to send their daughters to school, ending the cycle of oppression and poverty. Also, more women in the work force means better economies and less stress on ‘mother earth’ due to fewer babies being born.

If you really want to change the world, then read this book. Not only will it inspire and stir something inside of you, but you will have a better idea where help is most needed and how to go about it.

You don’t need to join the Peace Corps or start a NGO to make a difference in the world, but if everyone chips in a little, collectively we can make a difference. It can be as simple sponsoring a child with education or a woman with job skills training. It only costs $25 a month to cover the cost of school fees for a young girl in Cambodia through FREE TO SHINE (www.freetoshine.org). This decreases her risk of being trafficked and sold to a brothel, as well as increasing her earning potential in the future.

As Zen Master Rama points out, “a species divided against itself will eventually fall.”  If mankind is to survive, the oppression of women around the world must end and equality of the sexes must prevail. This will only happen however, if we all stand up and do something.

 

WHY TEACH FOR FREEDOM?

Every year, over two million children are trafficked and sold into sex slavery – some as young as three years old. It is the worst violation of human rights and much of society remains ignorant to it.

Victims of slavery are subjected to torture, rape, starvation, psychological threats, forced abortions, and often young girls undergo countless surgeries to reconstruct their hymen so that they can be resold as virgins over and over again.

44% of trafficking victims in South East Asia are sexually exploited.

The average price of a slave is $340.

The approximate price paid for a young girl’s virginity in Cambodia is $500.

Women and girls make up 98% of victims of trafficking for sexual servitude.

Every country is affected by human trafficking, whether it be an origin, transit or destination country for trafficked people.

Taking away a person’s freedom and exploiting them for financial gain is an incomprehensible violation of human rights.

The first step to change is awareness. If you’re a yoga teacher, please join us in the movement to END SEX SLAVERY by holding a ‘PRACTICE FOR FREEDOM’ yoga class to raise awareness and funds for victims of sex trafficking.

We will help you organize and promote the event, all you need to do is find a location to hold it at and turn up to teach on the day.

The funds from your class will be donated to PROJECT FUTURES (www.projectfutures.com.au) – an Australian not for profit organisation dedicated to combating human trafficking and sexual exploitation by raising awareness and funds to support organisations who work directly with victims and survivors of human trafficking.

“The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.” ~ Albert Einstein

Contact us to find out more – naomi@befreeyoga.com.au

10 TIPS TO GET YOUR CHI IN CHECK

1. If it doesn’t serve you, let it go. Hate, anger, jealousy, judgment and resentment are like weeds that won’t allow the beautiful garden inside your heart to grow. They cause nothing but suffering, pain and discomfort for yourself and everyone around you. Let them all go.

2. Go with the flow. Stop resisting life’s flow and surrender to circumstances that are not in your control. When you surrender and go with life’s flow, you will be able to see more clearly solutions to the problems that are in your control. Follow your heart and your own rhythms. Let go of the idea that you ‘should’ be a certain way and surrender to who you really are.

 3. Be present. Stop thinking about the past or worrying about the future and firmly anchor yourself in the here and now. Live consciously, move mindfully and be constantly aware. Get out of your head and into your body. Think less, feel more.

4. Kiss your ego goodbye. Lose your attachment to your ‘self’ and start to peel back the layers of your ego to reveal your true self. Never mind what people think of you or how they perceive you, just be true to who you are.

5. Work on your thought life. We manifest our own reality, so try to cultivate thoughts that serve you in a positive way such as loving kindness, compassion, self-love, acceptance and gratitude.

 6. Breathe consciously. Keep coming back to your breath and let it be your mantra. Notice the rise and fall of your belly as you inhale and exhale. Improve the quality of your breath, let it be sweet, soft, long and deep.

7. Do something for nothing. Help where help is needed and use your skills to benefit the world in some way. Whether it be giving someone a hug when they are down or donating your time or money to a good cause, every small gesture goes a long way.

 8. Feed your soul. Do what you love – dance, read, write, sing, paint, swim, surf, asana practice…whatever it is that inspires your spirit, do it.

9. Be grateful. If you are always wanting, you will never feel like you have enough. Express gratitude for the things you already have and the life that you are living and you will always feel content.

10. Turn your attention inward. Find your sit, close your eyes, still your mind and start looking deep within you. Stop looking to your environment for things to make you happy, everything you need to be happy, content and at peace is right here within you.