Sex-Trafficking in Ecuador
Imagine someone from a poor family being sold into the sex trafficking industry as a young girl. Running from a step-father's abuse and being tricked and trapped into working at a brothel for no pay. Dropping out of school and having her first child - alone. These are some of the stories that the young women of EsperanzArt have experienced... but God is redeeming their stories.
Sex-trafficking and sexual exploitation is one of the most common tragedies in our broken world. We invite you to help combat this in Ecuador, a small, developing country in South America. Because of it’s open borders, traffickers can easily smuggle vulnerable women and children across borders. Once in Ecuador, these young women are forced into the legal industry of prostitution...unless they are rescued and given a second chance.
By wearing EsperanzArt you are choosing to take action against the sex trade and bring hope, healing and opportunity to these young women. Our wish is that EsperanzArt would also give YOU the opportunity to become a part of our ministry through buying our jewelry, sharing our stories, and praying for our girls.
How We Began
EsperanzArt was founded by Miguel, an Ecuadorian who survived a childhood of poverty and neglect. He lived on the streets as a teenager, until a local ministry intervened and gave him a second chance. From there, Miguel developed a desire to help people in similar situations. Miguel and his wife Desi, started EsperanzArt as a vocational workshop for girls rescued out of the sex trade.
“Esperanza” is the Spanish word for hope. Our vision is to offer hope through art.
- Emotional Hope: Helping the girls gain confidence by healing through art and building positive relationships.
- Economic Hope: Gaining work experience while completing their high school education which improves their capacity to find a permanent career and support their children (most are single young moms).
- Spiritual Hope: Reclaiming their true worth through weekly devotionals and learning Christian principles in the workplace.
The EsperanzArt’s jewelry workshop is part of a larger anti-slavery organization called ESME: End Slavery Ministries Ecuador. ESME includes Casa Adalia, the home for rescued girls, and Amadas, the street outreach for women in prostitution. For more about ESME, please visit www.casaadalia.net.
We love sharing the women’s stories of healing and redemption. However, most of them come from dangerous situations, with traffickers still looking for them. For this reason we must protect the privacy and security of our women, not revealing names or showing identifying photos.
The tagua nut is one of the eco-friendly materials obtained from the Coast of Ecuador. After being harvested from the ground, the tagua nut passes through a process of drying, hardening, and carving. Its natural color and texture so closely resemble ivory that it is called “vegetable ivory”. Many people promote the use of tagua over animal ivory, as it is much more humane. For most of our jewelry, the tagua beads are dyed in an array of beautiful colors, before becoming stunning fashion pieces.
The Açaí palm is a tree which grows in Brazil and Peru. The indigenous people have been harvesting this fruit for hundreds of years. Açaí berries are the Amazon’s most powerfully nutritious superfood, but the berries can also be used to make gorgeous necklaces and bracelets. To make these beads, the Acai berries are handpicked, and the seeds are dried and coloured.
These seeds come from one of the grandest palms of South America. The Pambil palm is an essential resource for the culture of Peru and Ecuador, as its wood is used for constructing houses, lances, bows, and blowpipes, and the leaves are woven into roofs of native huts. The Pambil palm’s fruit, approximately one inch in diameter, contains the delicate seeds used in our jewelry.