Other than catching a warning from a rare bus sign or billboard, the horrors of human trafficking don't really register on Miami's radar. Giving voice to such ugly issues is half the battle of combating them, something Miami-based Cloak Inc. knows well.
Cloak, a socially-conscious fashion brand, creates unique casual wear to support humanitarian issues. Through campaigns, media, events, and forums, Cloak builds awareness and sells its collection pieces to raise funds for non-profit organizations. In its latest campaign, SAVESEX, Cloak will host a community photoshoot called I AM + HERO at the Wynwood Warehouse Project, where attendees can participate as models and spokespersons from 1 to 5 p.m.
"Most Miamians don't know that sex trafficking is a $99 billion illegal trade that is more lucrative than the drug trade because victims can be sold over and over again," said Dawn T. Mangham of Cloak. "Sex trafficking is as common and it victims as accessible as the sparkling waters that enclose our shores. It is all around us, subtle in some instances and brazen in others."
Cloak seeks about 40 people for the shoot, and the current number is at 18 models. The organization recently partnered with CatWalk Pros to engage models who are passionate about fighting human trafficking, and will do another photo shoot for the 2015 "I AM + HERO" apparel campaign that Saturday's participant's can also sign up for.
"Not acknowledging the issue does not make it go away, particularly for the young girl or boy enslaved by this industry," Mangham says. "Our CEO's mantra is, 'Everyone deserves the purity of childhood regardless of their age.' Children, teens, and young adults are being robbed of that purity. It's time for us to stand up against the institution of enslavement and make sure the freedom rings for them, too."
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The event runs Saturday, October 25 from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Wynwood Warehouse Project, 450 NW 27th St. General admission to the event, which features fashion, food, and live music, costs $10 online, $12 at the door, and VIP admission at $75 includes photoshoot participation, a t-shirt, and hair and makeup. Cloak Inc. will donate 20 percent of the proceeds from the day's event to Life of Freedom Center, a support and resource center that serves female survivors of sexual exploitation and human trafficking, ages 12 to 23.