BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — For Women About Women boutique may look like just another clothing store, but shopping here could help end human trafficking.
For Women About Women is a second-hand thrift store that sells gently-used donated women’s items. All of their proceeds go toward the goal of ending human trafficking.
Linda Sivits, the owner of For Women About Women boutique, said she’s hoping to raise awareness about human trafficking in Kern County and wants to help put an end to it while providing women with the resources they may need.
“People think it doesn’t happen here in our own backyard but it really happens,” Sivits said. “It happens down the street from you. It happens in your zip code. It happens everywhere – and if you’re not aware of it and don’t see the signs or you [are] not educated – it could be happening right before your eyes and you wouldn’t even know about it.”
The boutique opened on Feb. 8 in downtown Bakersfield. After closing down their last location, which was ministry-based, Pastor Richard Hill of Vessels of Honor Church and his congregation teamed up with Dr. Doug Bennett of Magdalene Hope to open For Women About Women to spread awareness about human trafficking. Pastor Hill said human trafficking is a big issue and will not go away if people simply ignore it.
“If we ignore it, it’s still going to be there and it’s a big issue,” Pastor Richard Hill said. “These are [someone’s] sons and daughters that are out there and we need to let them know that there are people that stand by them … and will help them in whatever area we can.”
Bennett said on Monday night there were 170 postings online in Bakersfield alone for women that were for sale. That’s about 750 to 1,000 women for sale per month in Bakersfield.
“We feel that 8 out of 10 of the women who are for sale in our city as prostitutes are not prostitutes, but are victims of human trafficking and somebody is profiting off of them,” Bennett said.
For Women About Women Boutique, located at 221 Chester Ave., is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and on Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon.
There are a few ways to call for help against human trafficking.
You can call the National Human Trafficking hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or the Kern County Child Protective Services hotline at 661-631-6011.
Visit the Department of Human Services website for a list of resources and information.