Local essential oil company Savhera seeks to empower victims of sex trafficking

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Spending time in prison was the first time that Ava, a sex trafficking survivor, who did not want her last name released, had a moment to silence her mind – away from manipulation, coercion and the toxicity from which the sexual exploitation industry thrives. It was then that she realized that what was being done to her was not right; she wanted better for herself, but she needed a plan.

” I just [wanted] learning to be human – I don’t want to be in this life anymore, ”says Ava. “But I [didn’t] know how to get out though.

Ava’s journey began when her lawyer connected her with Valiant Hearts, a non-governmental organization (NGO) that provides emergency housing, personalized care and educational resources to survivors of sexual exploitation.

Through the organization, Ava participated in an extensive healing therapy program, but when the time came to re-enter society, she encountered another hurdle.

“I’ve had [an] many criminal history due to when I was trafficked – I was charged by my trafficker [my record]”says Ava.” I watched vigorously for months and was constantly denied. “

That’s when Valiant Hearts introduced Ava to former Christian University of Texas political science professor Vanessa Bouche and her essential oil company Savhera, founded to provide dignified employment for survivors of sex trafficking in India and the United States.

“It’s not a handout,” said Bouche. “It’s about giving people transferable skills and lasting job skills they need for a living so they can make their own choices in their lives. “

Bouche had been teaching sex trafficking for years, but it was two women she met on a study abroad trip to India that inspired the company.

“Why should I tell you my story?” Mouth remembers one of the women saying. “Why would I tell you anything about myself?” You are no different from the people who come here and exploit me for my body.

The woman’s words resonated with Mouth: Survivors need someone to actively champion their cause and help them build better lives.

Within months, the essential oil company was born to employ survivors of sexual exploitation in India and the United States Bouche told Indian women that it was creating the company to employ them – and that they would have the right to name.

Two weeks later, the women returned with the name Savhera, a Hindi word for a new beginning or a new dawn.

“The idea of ​​a fresh start is that the sun always rises in the morning,” says Bouche. “No matter how dark your past was, no matter how dark your night was, the sun always rises.”

Ava longed for a reminder of the promise of a new dawn as she faced constant rejection of entry-level positions when Mouth contacted the NGO where Ava was located, looking for survivors to employ in Savhera. Ava remembers the contagious and open-minded enthusiasm that Bouche expressed when they first met.

“I had an ankle monitor at the time and was on probation,” says Ava. “It was like, on paper, saying ‘don’t hire this person.’ Vanessa looked past it all and knew there was potential that just needed to be unlocked.

At Savhera, Ava and the other survivors employed in the United States rely on the valuable skills needed to enter the professional workforce, such as spreadsheets, inventory management, and communication.

Employment at Savhera is a little different in India, especially since the country has been devastated by COVID-19. Savhera’s office in India was closed for several months in 2020 and 2021, but that hasn’t stopped Bouche and his team from supporting the survivors they employ.

“As a business that exists to support the livelihoods of survivors of trafficking [and] recognizing their extreme vulnerability if they don’t get paid – we are committed to getting them through this entire lockdown, ”Bouche said.

In India, the survivors employed at Savhera mainly manage the production activities, manufacture of sustainable packaging and distribution of accessories.

There is one main aspect that employment at Savhera in the United States and India has in common: it is all about healing and empowerment.

“It’s just a great environment wherever you are,” says Ava. “So, I just got to be able to develop myself intellectually. I had the power to keep growing.

For those looking to support the business and survivors of sex trafficking, the best way to do this is by purchasing Savhera’s “incredibly pure” and certified organic collection of essential oils, diffusers and gift sets, available only on its website and at the Dallas Farmers Market. every weekend, says Bouche.

“[Savhera is] Support the employment of women who desperately need the rest of the world to join us and say, “We really see you and we really care about you,” says Bouche. “You can’t get that with any other essential oil company or aromatherapy company in the world. It’s kind of a no-brainer for people to understand. If you love aromatherapy and you love people. humans, that’s all.

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