A local fitness studio is teaming up with a non-profit to help sex trafficking survivors in developing countries.
Pure Barre in west Knoxville is hosting a donation workout class on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. for Free the Girls, which provides sex trafficking survivors the opportunity to earn a living selling second-hand clothing while going to school, getting healthy, and caring for their families.
The class costs $15, and all the proceeds will benefit Free the Girls. Click here to sign up.
Free the Girls collects clean, gently used bras and donates them to women as starting inventory for their own businesses. For every bra donated, Free the Girls asks people to donate $1 to cover shipping costs to send the bras from the U.S. to Mozambique. The non-profit has collected more than 300,000 bras since August 2010.
Last year, Emily Jacobssen and Caitlin Ryan hosted a Free the Girls drive and collected 275 bras. This year, the friends teamed up with Pure Barre to get the community involved.
Since July 5, people have dropped of their more than 300 bras at Pure Barre in the Bearden area. The studio will collect bras through Thursday, July 31.
Slavery still exists all over the world
Globally, the sale of flesh makes about $31.6 billion every year.
The sex trade is the fastest-growing industry in organized crime, and the third-largest criminal trade in the world, according to the FBI.
The United Nations estimates that at any one time, there are about 2.4 to 2.5 million people who are victims of human trafficking. Eighty percent of those people are victims of sex trafficking. But it's impossible to know the exact number of people affected because the criminal sex trade is a clandestine crime.
The UN defines a sex trafficking victim as an adult coerced, forced or deceived into prostitution. A minor exploited sexually in exchange for some sort of payment is also considered a sex trafficking victim.
So why bras?
In many countries, bras are sought after items. Some of the girls involved in the program make three to five times the minimum wage in their communities by selling bras. This type of work also allows survivors to typically work with women because the majority of them were abused by men.
What is Pure Barre?
Pure Barre is the fastest, most effective and safest way to change your body. The workout concentrates on areas women struggle with the most: highs, thighs, seat, abs and arms. The goal of this type of fitness class is to create the long, lean muscles of dancer through small isometric movements centered around the ballet barre.
If you aren't a dancer - don't be discouraged. This workout is great even if you have two left feet.
If you attend a class, you should wear workout pants, leggings or capris. Don't wear shorts, and be sure to wear a top that covers your midriff. This is a no shoes class, but socks are required.
Pure Barre is located at 133 S. Forest Park Boulevard in the same shopping center as The Grill at Highlands Row off Kingston Pike.
For more information about Pure Barre, click here.