It all started with a mission. That mission? To end human trafficking. Weapon of choice? A dress.
In 2009 Blythe Hill challenged herself to wear a dress every day for a month. Soon friends got involved, then strangers, and over the course of a few years, she decided to align the test with a cause: anti-trafficking. What started as a fun and quirky experiment transformed into a global movement to abolish captivity and bondage in today’s world. Dressember was officially born in 2013, now, throughout the month of December, people all over the world wear a dress or tie to raise awareness and funds to support the cause.
Why a dress? It’s not exactly “combat ready.”
Dressember has redefined the dress as a symbol of strength, power and change.
Anyone can get involved by making a donation or becoming an advocate. Now in her third year as an advocate, Andi Moller of Stamford started participating with Dressember in her senior year of college at Syracuse University. Moffly Media took a moment at the start of the year to talk to Moller about the movement.
What is Dressember to you?
“Sex-trafficking and slavery has been higher than ever [Global Slavery Index], and so the Dressember campaign works to shine a light on this crime that works in the shadows. On a personal level, the Dressember campaign is a movement where we share our own stories of struggle and how we’ve come to find our own healing, thus taking a stand for women and children having a right to receive their own freedom, healing and restoration
Can you explain that a bit more?
“Before the campaign started, my reason for participating was because, compared to the struggles of these women, I’ve never really struggled. What I came to realize, though, was that all of us struggle and are in need of hope, healing and resources. Our struggles and fears are valid and should be acknowledged, and, even more, received with love and grace. I was so quick to minimize any situation I had gone through, but when I faced them and found validation, I was able to fight harder and stronger for these women because I had a sense of what they were going through and how important rescue really is.”
How did you promote your specific campaign? You hit your goal early and extended the campaign into January?
“My specific campaign consisted of posting on social media platforms, talking one-on-one with people in my community and trying to extend my message outside of my community. I used Instagram, specifically, to share some personal stories of struggle and finding healing. I used space within work, home and friends’ homes to bring light and facts to the issue. I partnered with artists and curators to bring this campaign to a Miami Art Exhibit. Overall, I see areas in which I either have a resource, space or platform and see how I can bring my message, the story of these women and children, out into the light.”
What do you tell people who are interested in getting involved?
“I tell people that the Dressember campaign is something you can make your own. I had friends participating on every level, from simply wearing a button to wearing the same dress every day. Dressember isn’t meant to be straight-edged but, instead, a challenge that brings about more conversation and awareness on this issue—becoming a catalyst of hope, positive change and even confidence for yourself. The first step is to find just one person to go through this journey with you. One voice can be powerful, but when it’s a whole gathering of us taking a stand, what can’t we do?
Is there still time to get involved or donate?
“Yes, there is definitely still time! You could always start advocating for women and children in sex-trafficking by wearing a dress and talking to people in your community about what it means to you…you can definitely donate to Dressember, or even directly to the organizations that put together the rescues (International Justice Mission, A21).”
You can find Moller’s campaign here.
January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month, and every donation makes a difference. How your donation helps:
- One Aftercare Package for a Survivor (includes new clothes, food, toiletries & toys): $20
- One share of a Sex Traffic Rescue Operation: $150
- Trauma Counseling for one Group of Survivors: $250
Editor’s Note: Q-n-A has been edited for fit and clarity.
Important links to get more information or get involved: