Freeset’s Gateway Campaign, which aims to fund a building in the heart of Kolkata’s red light district that will become an incubator for small businesses to give freedom to women in the sex trade, has recently celebrated a huge milestone.
The purchase and renovation of a property at the entrance to Sonagacchi, Kolkkata’s largest red light district, was completed in August after almost 2 years of planning and much hard work from the Freeset staff and cofounders. The vision for the Gateway Campaign came after a desire to expand the capacity of Freeset to provide employment and social services to more women and girls in Kolkata. The broader vision is for Freeset to become a catalyst for the growth of new “freedom businesses,” providing women with an array of vocational choices to help them find freedom.
Freeset’s dream is to see Sonagacchi transformed into a place of freedom. This strategically located building provides an ideal place to continue toward making that dream a reality. For all those who want to leave the trade, this building will be a beacon of hope, a place where they can begin taking their first steps to freedom.
With over 10,000 women and young girls trapped in the sex trade in Sonagacchi, the Freeset Gateway project will provide a way for many more women with a pathway to freedom. The new property will allow for:
- Much needed space for many more freedom businesses to take root and grow
- Dignified and sustainable employment that generates income for women and their families
- Holistic social services including health-care, childcare, education and counselling
For last 14 years, Freeset has provided a vocational alternative to the sex trade for at-risk and trafficked women in Kolkata. Today, Freeset provides employment for nearly 200 women. With the purchase of this strategically located building, we can offer a choice of freedom to many more. The facilitation of new, sustainable freedom businesses and the provision of space for more social services are just two of the outcomes you can expect to see in the coming months and years.
Kerry, co founder of Freeset, is certain of one thing for the Gateway, “This place will be a place of freedom for many, if we’re in this together.” Thank you for journeying with us and believing in the freedom vision.
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