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Changing Lives Through Business: Empowering Human Trafficking Survivors





Every survivor of Human Trafficking should have the tools and community to rebuild their lives. Human trafficking—the use of force, fraud, or coercion to perform a sexual act for profit—is a $150 billion a year global industry. Ninety percent of women want to leave the sex trade but don’t, because of a lack of access to jobs and a new life. A woman who has survived human trafficking needs a way to not be one of the 80% that return. Access to resources to rebuild her life are critical.


Since 2012, Jacksonville, Florida nonprofit Rethreaded has been providing a safe, supportive work environment where human trafficking survivors earn money while learning skills, and experiencing healing through community. Women begin to rethread their lives with this critical support and 85% of women who come to Rethreaded, never returned to trafficking.


Rethreaded joined Southwest Airlines’ Repurpose with Purpose program in 2017. Through capacity building grants, Rethreaded developed, designed, and produced a line of leather accessories made from upcycled Southwest leather seat covers. Support from Southwest has also allowed Rethreaded to scale its operations and create a new revenue stream through its Corporate Gifts of Hope Program. Rethreaded is also a community leader raising awareness of the impact of human trafficking by hosting groups to participate in the “Reclaim the Light Volunteer Experience”, educating people on the availability of resources and trauma-informed care. Recently, Southwest Employees from our Jacksonville Station participated in the training and ended their volunteer time deconstructing Southwest seats which will go into the production process to make new products.


Combating Human Trafficking is an important focus for Southwest as it can happen on our aircraft. That’s why we work with nonprofit partners combating this issue and prioritize opportunities to help identify indicators and advocate for those who may be in a difficult situation.


“I truly believe in giving back to the Communities we serve. Southwest has afforded me the opportunity to partner with great entities that share the same belief,” shared JAX Station Manager, Rosa. “Volunteering at Rethreaded has given me a purpose.  Southwest supplies them with the leather seats and they in turn make products from that leather that gives Human Trafficking Survivors a new lease on life. I have joined their “Sister Circle”, where I’ll be able to help on a continuous basis. Who would have thought that just one invitation to volunteer at Rethreaded would have turned into an experience that touched my soul!”


By purchasing Rethreaded products you are part of giving a survivor of human trafficking a chance to renew her hope, reignite her dreams, and release her potential. You become part of a new community that allows her to rethread her life and start again. Southwest is proud to support Rethreaded as they educate about human trafficking and create a choice and community for women who have survived human trafficking.