Freeset - News

January 2010 Newsletter

Jan 11, 2010

A new year means its time for a news update! 2009 had its ups and downs, but we are still here and 150 women and their families continue their journey to freedom.

Download Jan 2010 Newsletter (1MB Pdf)

A great gift

Everybody tells me I'm hard to buy presents for. I guess it's hard to get excited about stuff, especially when most of us have too much already. I have to say though, if a present can be likened to being able to see freedom at work in the lives of women, there is no Christmas present quite like it. A couple of weeks ago one woman gave me the best Christmas present ever. Let me explain.

While Gina was trapped in prostitution she had no room to call her own. She used to stay under another woman's bed in a brothel. I guess there were times when she had to wait while her friend finished with a customer before she could emerge from underneath the bed. I presume when she had her own customers she was permitted to use the bed for a fee.

Fortunately, not long after joining Freeset, she was able to move into a new room with her six year old son, a place they could call their own. Well, you could call it a room but it's more like a closet, a room created from the empty space underneath a skinny staircase. The highest point is four feet and the lowest...well... you get the picture. Still, Gina has been able to leave the sex trade and that's worth celebrating.

There are times though when Gina, at her new job at Freeset, falls asleep. You see, being H.I.V. positive means she is not always feeling "on top of the world". Thankfully, the antiretroviral medication helps bring some stability to her health.

Good rooms are hard to come by in our community so I'm always on the lookout on behalf of Gina and other women. I mean, wouldn't it be great for Gina to have a better room. Just two weeks ago Gina heard about a room coming available in the very building she was living in. With a little bit of help with the deposit she would have a much better living space for both her and her son. I could see just how much she wanted that room.

When the landlady approached me to see if Freeset wanted to take on that room I was faced with a huge dilemma. Gina wasn't the only one in need. Women trapped in the sex trade often have lots of, what I call, "parasites" feeding off them - people who sit on their backsides doing nothing but using the women as a source of income. Their aim is keep them in the trade and live off them as long as they can. Of course these women can never be free until the parasites are dealt with.

Sadly, even though Putul has been at Freeset for a while, she is yet to be free from prostitution. Although this is hard to understand, her parasites are her mother and brother who pressure her to stay in the trade.

Talking things through with Putul, we both agreed the best way forward was to find a new room away from her family parasites. Now you can see the dilemma. Who gets the room? Gina or Putul? And who gets to decide?

Knowing that Gina had her mind set on that room I decided to talk with her first. "Gina, I know you'd love to move to the bigger room and it would be great for you and your son. The difficulty is that Putul is still selling her body and desperate... Before I could finish my carefully crafted sentence of explanation, Gina interrupted with the biggest of smiles. "Give her the room. I have freedom now. I'm free and she's not please give her the room. I'd love for her to have the room."

My Christmas present: To be further down the track in understanding what real freedom is. I guess sometimes we think freedom is the absence of conflict and pain and the ability to have total control over our lives. Gina has neither and yet can stand before God and others and say I'm free. Of course, it helps me understand a little more about this baby born in a stable who didn't have a room either.


Freeset Tees in New Building

Freeset tees was in one small room with 20 women. We were packing on top of boxes and sewing with the women smooshed together. Now, we are free to move about and have a whole room dedicated to finishing, checking, and packing. We LOVE our new space. It is clean, airy, and helps us all stay organized. You can check out what the new place looks like by watching our building update video number 3.

Thank you to everyone who helped get us into the new building. We see it as a true blessing.

Karl's bit

Many businesses found 2009 a pretty daunting year. For Freeset the rapid growth of the past 4 years (averaging over 30% per annum) meant that the sudden drop in orders was very unsettling - not least because we now need about 800 bags a day to keep our staff busy. The first half of the year was particularly difficult with the factory shutting for a total of 12 days. The second half of the year saw some resurgence in demand which has kept us reasonably busy. However, we are not out of the woods yet and with more women coming in for training almost every day - it becomes increasingly critical to build our sales base. We are very grateful for the partnership we have with our distributors, many of whom sacrificially invest of their time and resources helping us to build markets and supply sales opportunities.

Often we are contacted by people asking how they can help Freeset. First of all, keep buying our products! Tell your friends about Freeset, share the story, encourage others to consider a Freeset purchase. Many of our distributors carry stock of Freeset bags which are available for sale online. If you are part of a network (work, church, club etc) perhaps you can encourage them to consider a Freeset bag as a way of adding value to their next event or to promote their organization.

If you have any questions contact one of our local distributors or feel free to drop us a line at and let us know how we can help you.

Thanks for being a part of our Freedom Journey.


Download Jan 2010 Newsletter (1MB Pdf)