TEMPLE - Two teens are taking a stand to end a growing problem in the United States and in Central Texas. They are doing it through their attire.
Come rain, sleet, or snow, they plan to wear a dress every day in the month of December as a way to fight human trafficking.
In 2009, it started as a fashion challenge, but it quickly emerged into a growing trend as a way to raise money to fight human trafficking.
"When I found out there's a really simple way for me to wear a dress every day for a month, and do something tangible to fight trafficking, I really wanted to do that," Maddie Bowers High school Senior and advocate said.
The campaign Dressember uses fashion to advocate for women all over the world who've been exploited for their femininity. During the entire month of December women vow to wear dresses as a way to make a difference. But they say wearing the dress has a deeper meaning than making a fashion statement.
"It's more of using a dress for a symbol to bring power and significance to people who have been in slave trades through human trafficking," said High school Junior and advocate Madeleine Norman.
Fifty percent of human trafficking victims are minors and through social media, Bowers and Norman have raised more than $1,500 to bring light to the issue. Once they graduate high school, they plan to pursue careers in anti-trafficking work.
"The Dressember Foundation partners with the International Justice Mission and A21, which are both organizations that fight human trafficking,” Bowers said. “I would love to get involved with the International Justice Mission.
Bowers and Norman said their hope is to save lives.
"Whenever I think about how human trafficking happens everywhere all around us, I’m thinking of my family, the kids I babysit, and my cousins,” Norman said. "It struck me really close, and I would want someone to fight for me."
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