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Dianna Brass Necklace

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Regular Price: $35.00

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Product Description

This intricate handwoven brass pendant with copper wire and crystal bead chips strung on leather cord was designed by our Jewelry Program Director and intrepid trainer Dianna Badalament.

  • Woven wire brass and copper pendant with glass bead chips
  • 20" leather cord with gold-plated S-clasp
  • Handcrafted in India
  • Sustainable for people and planet
The tiny bead chips woven into the wire in this fair trade necklace represent the human soul trapped in slavery. According to the UN, there are over 27 million people living as slaves in today's world. Researcher Kevin Bales, in his book 'Disposable People', explores the fact that modern slavery differs from historical slavery in the fact that slaves have become so cheap, it is easier to throw them away and replace them than to protect their health, safety, or even their lives. In the 1800s, an 18 year old field slave cost the equivalent of $40,000 in today's money. Today, a field slave can be bought for $80. Being bought and sold as property, treated as disposable and utterly devalued is devastating to survivors' self-esteem. That is why our employment programs offer counseling, team building and many activities designed to improve participants' self-esteem. Most of all, we treat the survivors with dignity and respect, and offer them the chance to become independent, giving them value to themselves, their family and society - so much value that they can never again be enslaved.

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Dianna Brass Necklace

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This piece is a fairly literal interpretation of the trafficking experience and I designed it when I was fairly new to the issue of human trafficking and trying to process all I was learning and seeing while working in India. The movement of the threaded wire of the piece represents the many and confusing transit patterns that trafficked women and children take; journeys that are not inherently their own. The gemstones are the trafficked person, moving with no options in a very confined world (represented by the outer circle). It was extremely important for me to turn the horror and truth of the trafficking experience into something beautiful and unique, mimicking what MBS Survivors Artisans have done with their lives. To celebrate life outside that "circle" or world. Although there is a basic formula to fabricating this pendant, each one can be strung any way with beads in any particular point, making each one as unique as the Artisans themselves and their life experiences.

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Calcutta Jewelry TeamThe MBS Jewelry Centers – including the pilot program in Calcutta, the Mumbai Center, and the Jalpaiguri/Darjeeling Center  are some of our most exciting new initiatives. These centers are training some of India’s first women goldsmiths, offering intensive (paid) high level skills training, followed by long-term, fairly paid employment.

Survivors at the centers are designing and manufacturing jewelry in precious and semi-precious metals. They also serve as peer trainers for new trainees. Jewelry making in India has traditionally only been done by men, and by members of specific castes. It is a highly respected and prestigious skill which enables survivors to overcome the stigma of trafficking and forced prostitution.  

Many of our artisans are survivors of human trafficking and brothel slavery who have been rescued in raids and have spent several years in local aftercare shelters are also in need of help and opportunities if they are to leave the shelters, live independently, and support themselves.  Others are at high risk because they were born into brothel communities or in rural villages with a high incidence of trafficking.  Some are survivors or child marriage, severe domestic violence or other human rights violations.

Typically, girls are trafficked between the ages of 11 and 14 from impoverished rural areas in India, Bangladesh or Nepal. They are sold as slaves in brothels, where they endure severe physical, sexual and emotional abuse and torture. Those fortunate enough to be rescued from slavery face continuing extreme challenges in rejoining mainstream society. It is a struggle to rejoin society because of social stigma and a lack of job options, education or skills.

Survivor Jeweler in Made By Survivors Mumbai Program

We see a dramatic change in the behavior and confidence of our survivors through this program. At first they are timid and unwillingly to look you in the eye. After six months they are laughing, speaking out, and maintaining eye contact. After a year, they are solving production problems, and challenging us to match their determination and energy. We see survivors progress from shelter-dependence to total independence. Many of our survivors are remarkable for their courage in rescuing others, spreading awareness of trafficking and slavery, and advocating for the rights of women and girls.