Last night Mircea and I were in Irvine at the fifth annual “Fabric of Freedom Gala,” put together by the International Princess Project.  Through my sister, we got this amazing opportunity to photograph the event.  From their own website, “International Princess Project advocates for women enslaved in prostitution, helping them restore their lives and empowering them to live free.”  Started about seven years ago, they have gone into towns in India and set up sewing centers to make a clothing product called “punjammies,” which are really comfortable pajama bottoms.  The centers are not just a clothing factory, they are centers of hope, because almost every woman who works there has been a victim of human trafficking.  These women have been forced into prostitution, or worse, sold into prostitution.  The International Princess Project has rescued the women who work there by first taking them off the streets and second giving them a sustainable way to support themselves and their children.  And although some of the women have deep scars that will not easily heal, others have been able to move forward towards careers in nursing and other jobs.

The gala started off with a great reception, where guests were entertained by live music, a silent auction, hor dourves, free henna, and just the opportunity to meet and get to know one another.  There were lots of great things to do, like write on the “what does freedom mean to you?” board.  And the elephant ice sculpture was really a nice touch.  We took as many photos as we could of the details and the guests as they mingled.

After the sun went down the gala moved inside, where guests were treated to an amazing dinner and an even more amazing group of people who spoke about the plight of human trafficking and ways to help eradicate this problem.  Mircea and I are truly happy that we were able to be a part of this event and help out such a wonderful organization.  The International Princess Project is taking on such a huge problem and bringing hope to these women and their families.  It is so inspirational to people taking action, and I hope that we can work together with them again in the future.

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