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Photo by Drew Oxley

It began as a couple of high school guys making "dumb iron on tee shirts" together. But now, The Parative Project is a brand that raises awareness about human trafficking by creating conversations. Drew Oxley originally started the project in order to sponsor and build partnerships between bands throughout Ohio. However, after he met a friend who was passionate about the issue of human trafficking in India, his brand was transformed.

As Drew learned more about the extent of the problem of human trafficking throughout the entire world, his eyes were opened and the question inside his head begging to be asked was, “If I don't know what's happening, who else doesn't know?"

And so the mission of The Parative Project was revamped as Drew went from turning people into billboards for his personal brand to turning people into billboards for the issue of human trafficking.ParativeProject-2-2

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Each tee is meant to serve as a conversation starter, a match which will fan the flame that sheds more light on such an extensive problem, if we are brave enough to strike it. The purpose is to get personal with Parative products - in our everyday conversation as well as through social media. We’re not just handing out pamphlets or asking for a signature or a couple bucks. In order for something to really matter to us, we have to get creative, to bring our own voices to the cause. Because when it matters to us personally, that’s when we want to do something about it.

The future is bright for The Parative Project. Drew and his wife Carolyn who now runs Parative with him are in the process of turning the project into a business. The tees are currently being made in Cincinnati, but by the end of the year, they will be made by women and children in India who have been stuck in the trafficking industry and desperately need jobs if they are to sustain themselves and their families outside of the system.

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Although the goal of Parative is to cultivate conversations, it can’t stop there. There is a flag in the Parative shop that reads “Land of the Dreamer,” which represents the ultimate goal of the project: to create a place for women and children all throughout the world where they are free to dream. They are free to run and play and be themselves, the same way Drew did as a kid. “I don’t think that’s going to happen unless there are people taking bold steps,” he says. The Parative Project wants to encourage conversations that go beyond simply acknowledging the problem to a place where people actually do something for the cause.

So when I asked Drew and Carolyn for some simple ways that Conscious readers can start getting involved, they gave three suggestions:

01 | Buy a shirt, have conversations, and share on social media with #theparativeproject to keep the conversation going.

02 | Take just 30 minutes out of your day and do some research about human trafficking. Educating ourselves is one of the first and most important steps in ending this problem. Some great organizations to check out are International Justice Mission, Polaris, and Be Free Dayton (for those of you in southwest Ohio) who are fighting hard to solve this issue.

03 | Keep hope. With a problem so huge, it would be easy to get cynical. But our voices can and will make a difference. This generation has the power to eradicate human trafficking.

LEARN. CONNECT. ACT.
Learn more about The Parative Project
Connect via Twitter and Instagram
Act by buying a Tee Shirt and starting your own conversation!
Parative loves collabs. If you are a creative, passionate about ending human trafficking, and are interested in getting involved with The Parative Project, contact Drew here.

FROM THE EDITOR
At Conscious, we are inspired by remarkable people, and so we set out to tell stories that highlight real human interactions and human dignity. You can read more stories like this when you Subscribe.

 

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