Activists collect bras for recovering women

File photoClinton Public Library is one of several locations accepting donations of bras so that former sex slaves can start businesses and support themselves financially

CLINTON —Local activists are collecting new and gently used bras for survivors of sex-trafficking as part of a national campaign.

Free the Girls is an Indiana-based nonprofit organization that works in El Salvador, Mozambique and Costa Rica helping women who have been trafficked earn a living by selling bras in the second-hand market, a press release from Franciscan Peace Center and Sisters of St. Francis said last week.

As part of a national campaign, local organizations are collecting bras for Free the Girls. Bras may be dropped off between Feb. 14 and March 7 at Clinton Public Library, 306 Eighth Ave. S.; Clinton Community College, 1000 Lincoln Blvd; 392 Caffé, 216 S. Second St.; First United Methodist Church, 621 S. Third St.; YWCA, 317 Seventh Ave. S.; Scott Community College, 500 Belmont Rd. in Bettendorf; or Newcomb Presbyterian Church, 2619 N. Division St. in Davenport.

St. John Vianney Church at 4097 18th St. in Bettendorf will accept bra donations between Feb. 22 and March 8.

Locally the donation drive is being organized by the Anti-Trafficking Committee of the Franciscan Peace Center in Clinton, Phi Beta Kappa of Clinton Community College and Attacking Trafficking in the Quad Cities.

According to the Free the Girls website, the second-hand clothing market is a thriving industry in many countries around the world. Bras are a sought-after item and command top dollar in the marketplace.

By receiving a starting inventory from Free the Girls, women are able to begin their businesses and become entrepreneurs in their own communities. This income allows them a safe economic opportunity, and for many of the women, provide not only for themselves but their children as well.

The Franciscan Peace Center was established by the Sisters of St. Francis as a means for integrating Franciscan spirituality with the mission of promoting active nonviolence and peacemaking, as well as advocating for social justice issues and care for the Earth.

Most recently, the Center has focused on immigration reform, human trafficking, abolition of the death penalty, domestic violence and sexual assault, poverty, environmental concerns, and active nonviolence. More information is available at www.ClintonFranciscans.com.

Attacking Trafficking is a Quad Cities faith-based organization dedicated to ending human trafficking and to providing help and healing for survivors.