As well connected, modern and intelligent women (and men) we are not blind to the horrors that occur in this world. It is so easy be moved by an article or documentary only to forget about it hours later. A group of Tasmanian women were shocked to discover how prolific the world human trafficking trade was, and they pledged to actually to do something about it. And so, in September 2009 Be Hers was born. Be Hers is a social enterprise organisation dedicated to spreading awareness about the men, women and children who are trapped in the horrific cycle of trafficking, whether it be sex slavery, debt bondage or forced labour. Their goal is to empower women to make a difference.
Unbelievably, there are more people enslaved today than ever before. That’s 27 million people in captivity right now, with the average age of human slaves being only 12 years old. The number of slaves who are actually rescued is minuscule, as is the quotient of the traffickers themselves being caught and convicted. They are truly harrowing statistics.
The wonderful women behind Be Hers know that fighting human trafficking is a huge undertaking and can’t be eradicated over a weekend. Through their event Be Her Freedom, they have brought thousands of regular women together and empowered them to DO something. Held around Australia, the event allows women to dress up, gather their best-friends for an evening of “Instagrammable” (and yummy!) food, performers, dancing and guest speakers. Women can also ‘shop for change’, purchasing necklaces, rings and bracelets all year round in addition to attending the event. One hundred percent of profits go towards Be Her Freedom’s grant partners, including A21 and The She Rescue Home.
While pretty jewellery and dressing up for a fun night out is all well and good, education about the realities of trafficking is also a key part of all Be Hers events. If one woman walks away inspired to make a difference, it will be all worth it.
In the lead up to Be Her Freedom Hobart 2017 we will be releasing a series of blogs introducing some of the key women behind this wonderful movement. We want you to be inspired by their passion, their truth and desire to make a change in the world.
Starting with Aeshlie Wheeler: Aeshlie (pictured below) is the Operations Manager of Tasmania Talent Agency and became involved with Be Hers five years ago.
How did you get involved in the Be Her Freedom movement?
Five years ago I was asked to supply models for a fashion parade for a woman’s fundraiser…backstage I spent most of my time not knowing really why I had agreed to yet ‘another’ fundraiser….the second year I sat at a table as well as committing again to providing the same service. I had never heard of trafficking or been educated on how huge an issue it was globally before this moment. I couldn’t fight back the tears as I imagined my own children, their innocence and how I would give everything to fight for their freedom. It was just that moment that I knew I couldn’t look back and stood in as production manager for Be Hers Hobart. Over the years I have grown closer and closer to feeling a personal responsibility for the fight for those without a voice and I could never look back. I now oversee Be Hers Ltd. production Nationally as well as sit on the board of Directors; this movement is now a big part of my life that I will always see as purposeful and ever-growing.
What do you love the most about, or what is the most fulfilling aspect of Be Her Freedom?
I love how organically the support has grown each year. From 100people at the first event in Hobart to now 900+, not to mention the three other locations across Australia with woman working tirelessly and all for the ‘one’. They all see the same vision and for different reasons. They are all touched by the message and use what is in their hand to support and desire no credit to their efforts other than knowing that they are contributing to a cause fighting for those who cannot fight for themselves. It is the people….the people that join the movement year in year out with no expectations…they just want to help somehow…
If you could change one thing in the world what would it be?
The value that people place on themselves. I would love to see a movement of cultures and recognition of great value, purpose and future direction for every person!
What do you think is the most pressing issue is for women right now ?
Pressing for women….speaking from personal experience; I would say our most pressing issue is knowing and maintaining our own value and self-worth. As we recognise our own worth, I believe we do not accept those who do not see us for who we really are; those who take ownership of us and those who do wrong by us. We have the power to take back our dignity and live our lives full of Value, Purpose and Future direction. We so often lift our friends and our children up, but so often forget to place that same value on ourselves. I believe that if all woman were to value themselves as much as much as they value you their most precious child, possession or memory then they will truly feel the meaning of freedom. I have never felt so much joy than when I knew that ‘my decision was mine’ and ‘when I dressed for ME and not that boy I was heading out to dinner with….’ *the most boring dinner on this earth I might add! I have felt more value in standing up for what I believe in than I ever have putting a new dress on.
What are you most looking forward to at this years Hobart Be Her Freedom event? Seeing new faces and seeing the efforts of so many shining a light on the darkness of trafficking. We can all do something!
**Tickets have now sold out for Be Her Freedom Hobart however you can still support this great cause by purchasing a Shop For Change item from the Be Hers website HERE.**
Written & Interviewed by Frances Darcey – LOIS. Magazine