Former sex slave helps trafficking victims through fashion

by Vanessa Garcia Rodriguez, |
India-born Anna Malika is a former sex slave and "survivor advocate" whose fashion clothing line funds services for women fallen victim to sex trafficking and helps those in rehabilitation from trafficking find self-sustaining work through sewing. |

GREENSBORO, N.C. (Christian Examiner) -- A former sex slave and "survivor advocate" who helped pass an anti-trafficking bill in North Carolina has developed a fashion line to help trafficking victims find new a beginning.

India-born Anna Malika, 29, was adopted into an American family and experienced sexual abuse as a child that led to self-harm, eating disorders and alcohol abuse later in life. In her teen years Malika also found herself in a deceptive relationship with an older man who sexually exploited her by selling pornographic pictures of her and other young girls.

Malika eventually entered a rehabilitation program through Mercy Ministries, a free residential program for girls seeking freedom from controlling issues, where she remained through 2012. Now she has her own clothing line and, according to her website, pursues a sociology degree with a concentration in criminology and pre-law.

Through a mentoring partnership with clothing brand Elegantees and a partnership with the Nepali Rescue Project, Malika says she is fulfilling a dream to design clothing and help other women who have also suffered from sexual exploitation and trafficking. Elegantees is a boutique brand that provides victims of sex trafficking independence with a self-sustaining income through sewing.

According to fashion website Refinery 29, Elegantees founders approached Malika and offered the opportunity to design a collection to debut during New York Fashion Week, in February. The line appeared under the name "Freedom is the New Beautiful."

"My clothes are made by Nepalese women who have overcome sex trafficking. We employ them, and pay a fair wage. The profits of my collection go to aftercare services that work with survivors," Malika told LifeSiteNews in a recent interview. Some of the outfits are even named for the women who have impacted her life, she added.

"My clothes are modest yet fashionable. For this specific collection, 'Freedom is The New Beautiful,' I used flowing fabrics, vibrant colors, and butterfly and pearl accents to represent we are a new creation no longer defined by our past wounds -- and that beauty is not a size. My clothes are modest yet fashionable, designed to promote the idea that women do not need to expose themselves to be considered feminine."

Malika also speaks at events and mentors young women coming out of abusive situation according to LifeSite.

"I trust God to move the hearts of people. My job is to simply open my mouth and pray that God speaks through me," she said and asked for prayer.

"You can also pray for me," she said. "Working in the anti-human trafficking movement, although rewarding, is strenuous and can be dangerous."