Nomi Network is a ground-breaking non-profit organization that seeks to leverage the capitalist market to combat sex trafficking around the world. The people at Nomi have chosen Cambodia as their pilot program, where they invest in the lives of women survivors of sex trafficking and sex slavery by offering access to channels of production which enable them to create products that can be sold to Western markets. Normally, I tend to be skeptical of the fair-trade movement for its general lack of oversight, it's slightly colonialist undertones (it causes third world artists to cater to first-world stereotypes of their culture), and stories of western retailers or administrators who corrupt the system by taking large commissions off the top of sales and pass relatively little on to the artists who they purport to serve.

But Nomi seems to be different. They specifically are targeting their educational and work opportunities to women survivors of sex trafficking and slavery to offer them viable alternatives to remaining in or re-entering the sex trade. While I don't think that all forms of sex trade are bad... I have an inkling that the vast majority of it which happens in Cambodia is... well, VERY bad. While I think the work that Nomi has set itself out to do is tremendously commendable, I hope that in the future they will be able to see how not all sex work is damaging to the practitioners, and also expand their services to aid men who are victims of forcible sex trade. There seems to be a general sense that women who engage in sex work are victims and men who engage sex work are enthusiastic participants, which isn't always the case in both scenarios.

Anyway, Team Nomi informs me that they have officially launched their website, where you can learn more about Nomi Network's approach to leveraging the marketplace to eradicate sex trafficking.

The website provides an interactive map of stores in New York City that currently sell fairly traded or slave-free merchandise. You can also explore opportunities to get involved with their efforts to end human trafficking.

Be part of the Network. Things are just getting started, but they'll be soon be announcing the release of their first product: Nomi's signature slogan tote bag, available for pre-sales on August 15. For more information, visit the new website here and check out the video below.

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