Sudara: The Clothing Company that is Changing Women’s Lives in India

Photo from sudara.org

Photo from sudara.org

“…the United States State Department, the United Nations and India’s Human Rights Commission have all identified India as a major hub in the international sex trade, a global phenomenon that may involve upwards of 27 million people,” stated this New York Times article in 2013. This article was written by the New York Times’ Editorial Board in response to a brutal gang rape that occurred in Delhi, India, in 2012 and made national headlines.

India’s sex and slave trafficking, most of the time one in the same, is not new. This has been a growing epidemic for decades, if not hundreds of years. In response to the national headlines, India has now made sex trafficking and sexual violence a criminal offense. It’s important to note that it had to take national headlines and international outrage to spark this bill to be passed. If 27 million people are involved in a nation’s sex trafficking business, as well as 5,000 domestic worker placement agencies in the western part of New Delhi alone, the government is no fool to what has been going on.

However, while the government has now passed these particular laws, that does not mean they will be acted upon. Fortunately, many people inside the country as well as internationally have stepped up to try to undermine India’s sex and slave trafficking industry.

One amazing business in particular is the clothing company named Sudara. Shannon Keith founded Sudara in 2005 after returning from a trip to India, where she was horrified by the conditions women were working in.

Photo from sudara.org

Photo from sudara.org

Shannon “listened to story after story of young girls being sold into the sex trade by their families, orphans picked up off the street by pimps, and even young mothers just trying to get enough money to feed their children. Many were held against their will. Others were trapped by economic poverty. Worst of all were the stories of those who managed to escape the brothels only to return due to social stigma and having no other means to survive.”

In response to what Shannon had seen, she and some friends developed a partnership in India to create sewing centers that taught women how to be seamstresses. They knew that without creating a safe place for these women to work, and without means of employment, they would most likely end right back into the cycle of sex trafficking. The idea behind Sudara, and the creation of their PUNJAMMIES loungewear, would be to provide these women with safety, a place to heal, community, and independence through their ownership of work.

Shannon Keith and Sudara have also created a non-profit organization in addition to their training and jobs for the women who participate, as well as all of the women who are suffering from sex trafficking. Learn more about their non-profit here.

Photo from sudara.org

Photo from sudara.org

If you are interested in buying your own pair of PUNJAMMIES (I have!) and supporting Sudara’s cause and the talented women creating PUNJAMMIE loungewear, you can shop here. They have adorable and fashionable PUNJAMMIES for women, men, and children.

Remember: “Whenever you purchase PUNJAMMIES™, you invest in the freedom and dignity of these women and girls who are working to forge a new life for themselves and their children.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: AMY VAUGHN9d54e19e059511e2a62d1231380fd04a_7

As a Montclair State University graduate with a BA in English, my first love is writing, specifically nonfiction and short stories. International human rights and women’s rights are also strong passions of mine. I hope to someday be able to call myself Chief Editor, human rights advocate, and jewelry designer. I can’t live without Mad Men (er, Netflix), soy chai lattes, or my adorable Wheaten terrier, Pippin. 

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