The importance of identity
For the 195 women working at Freeset, June 18, 2015 was a day to remember. Freeset issued photo I.D’s to its entire staff in response to a request made by a committee of workers. What turned this official process into an event was the exuberance of the women upon receiving them. After years of waiting, they finally received their "badge of honor".
"So how will this card help me?" one woman was heard asking. Her friend had a quick response, "This confirms that you work in a company and not in the line. For all those looks that you get, when you leave for work or reach home late, this I.D. card is the proof."
From cleaning to printing, sewing to finishing - women were busy showing off their cards to each other, they were pulling each other’s leg about how they looked in their photo. Some complained how fat they looked, while others reminisced about the time when the pictures were taken. They couldn't wait for work to finish so they could share their happiness with family, friends and neighbors.
The stigma of prostitution is hard to shake, which makes it tough for many women to cast off their past and build a new, positive sense of self-worth. The Freeset I.D. cards enable women show others they have "employee" status with a respectable company. They feel this "employee" identity helps generate respect for them in the eyes of society.
Each I.D. lists the employee’s name, the department they work for, their employee number, and the office address with contact number. It’s an important document and it tells the world they are official employees of Freeset. The women can hold their heads high, the card around their neck a visible validation that their work is legitimate and respectable. It helps them feel affirmed and included as a part of society.
"Human beings like plants grow in the soil of acceptance, not in the atmosphere of rejection."