My Sister: Helping Survivors of Human Trafficking After Rescue
Did you ever wonder how you can help survivors of human trafficking after they are rescued?
Mandy Multerer and Wayne Zink asked the same question before they started MY SISTER in 2015 with a vision to truly make an impact on survivors and at-risk youth and women. They believe that no matter how small an effort, we can make a positive change when we all come together.
MY SISTER is a Benefit Corporation fighting human trafficking through ethically sourced, statement-making apparel. They are accountable to high social and environmental impact standards which allow them to be able to give back through fundraising for their partners. MY SISTER donates 10% of net proceeds to their nonprofit partners who work directly with prevention, intervention, and aftercare, and they donate 25% of net proceeds to GEMS in New York City, an organization focused on educating and mentoring girls.
They recently had a special collaboration with Amber Tamblyn for a #ChoirUp Collection. MY SISTER supports Dressember by donating prizes for the Dressember team to give out as incentives and looks forward to getting more involved in the future.
I spoke with Maria McGinty, Director of Marketing at MY SISTER, who joined the organization because she wanted her skills to make a more positive impact on girls and women around the world. For professionals wanting to make a difference with what they do every day, Maria recommends,
“Do your research, dive into the issue with all you have and make connections. Meet with anyone and everyone related to what you are doing. Have an open mind and stay true to your passion.”
Maria has close connections to those who have similar passions. She states,
“Everyone who works at MY SISTER has a passion for helping others, specifically women, but we all came together with different backgrounds.”
Maria’s grandfather founded Tanzania Life Project which builds wells to bring clean water to villages in rural Tanzania. Additionally, both Co-Founders have passions emphasized on women’s issues, helping others and changing the world. Co-Founder, Wayne Zink, brought the business model from Endangered Species Chocolates, which he also founded, and realized he could continue to impact other areas of the world that need it most, thus the start of MY SISTER.
With the many challenges, survivors can face such as poverty, post-traumatic stress disorder, gender inequality, and family instability, MY SISTER believes in empowering survivors to combat these obstacles through education and employment. To date, MY SISTER has given over $104,000 to their nonprofit partners and have funded more than 2,671 hours of survivor employment. Employment assistance from MY SISTER includes anything from workshops where survivors perform various tasks to full-time employment.
MY SISTER completed their first campaign called Tees For Aiyana in which 100% of the proceeds helped fund Aiyana’s job. Aiyana is a survivor of human trafficking and staff member at The Link, an organization dedicated to providing education, housing, advocacy, and social services to exploited youth in Minnesota. Each shirt sold provided over 1 hour of work for Aiyana and a total of over 400 hours of employment were raised.
All MY SISTER clothing is exploitation-free, made with love, hand printed in the United States, earth-friendly, and contains a bold statement with a story. Products are designed internationally, mostly by Mandy Multerer, CEO of MY SISTER. They source their blank products from sweatshop-free manufacturers who pay fair wages, guarantee no child labor is present, and maintain a safe working environment. Historically, the garment manufacturing industry has contributed to the cycle of human trafficking by supporting manufacturers who hire children to work long hours in unsafe factories with as little as $3 per day.
MY SISTER wants each garment they sell to be one of complete empowerment and love, which is why they work hard to overcome the roadblocks that come with a common lack of transparency in the industry. They know enough about their suppliers to not have any red flags but continue to strive for complete transparency that is difficult to find in the fashion industry. Due to this lack of transparency, MY SISTER is currently working towards becoming their own manufacturer to ensure their products are completely empowering by having control over every step. This will allow them to support even more survivors of human trafficking and provide a wider range of products for their customers.
We want to thank MY SISTER for contributing to the Dressember mission and supporting advocates. You can find their newest collection by following their logo below. I personally love their Sweatshirts & Hoodies section to get me through the chillier months and their “Stop Traffick” line that helps me to continue engaging my community in conversation about modern-day slavery.
About the Author
Kaitlyn Wanta is about to graduate college and face the real world. After learning how to stay warm in a dress during Wisconsin's winter, she is excited to hear and share the stories of fellow Dressember advocates. Her bucket list includes riding in a hot air balloon, finishing a cookbook by making all the recipes, and catching a fish larger than herself.