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Sunday, December 07, 2008

Fair Trade Fairs Fare Well For Shoppers

Jill Kimball's love affair with Southeast Asia blossomed seven years ago, when adopting her daughter Jayne brought her in touch with the Cambodian people, art, and culture. Along with her new baby girl - her real treasure, she brought home gorgeous handwoven silk scarves, handmade jewelry and crafts fashioned from recycled materials that most of us would consider trash. Jill was so impressed with what the indigenous artisans' cooperatives could produce. "In these poor, rural communities, there is absolutely no waste," she says.

She and her friend Kathy Mahoney, both Montclair Moms, were game to start a business supporting fair trade artisans, and import their beautiful handicrafts to the US market. Lotus Jayne was born three years ago, and we first wrote about them when we noticed their Bombshell Bracelets made from 155mm artillery shells. Now, Lotus Jayne is present at nearly all of Baristaville's fair trade fairs and markets.

Annual buying trips include visits to remote villages reached by paddling over rice paddies, have enriched their inventory with items from India and Thailand hand-crocheted purses, jewelry, and silk clothing, both casual and chic. You'll find silver jewelry made by the Karen Hill Tribe in Thailand, new pendants made by artisan friends in Phnom Penh, and custom designed handwarmers (unknown to the artisans) and scarves made by women from the Godavari Delta of India.

Lotus Jayne's merchandise is amazingly affordable. Check their website, there's nothing listed over $50. Here's where you'll find Lotus Jayne this month.

Sunday, Dec. 7 & Dec. 14, 11am-1pm
Union Congregational Church Holiday Alternative Gift Fair
176 Cooper Avenue, Montclair, NJ

Thursday, December 11, 3pm-9pm
Montclair Coop School's Huge Winter Wonderland Holiday Shopping Fair
Includes Cafe and Children's Area
65 Chestnut Street, Montclair, NJ

Sunday, December 14, 10:30am-1pm
Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Montclair
Fair Trade Holiday Fair
67 Church Street, Montclair, NJ

Wednesday, December 17, 5pm-8pm
Chalk Farm
Holiday Shopping, Wine & Cheese
182 Glenridge Avenue, Montclair, NJ

They are also available by appointment. For more info, visit their website or call
Katie Mahoney 973-744-7576, Jill Kimball 973-744-7802.
Email: info@lotusjayne.com

Jill's comments about the photos:
Manager
This intelligent, beautiful woman manages the work brought to the village by Somphen.

Old Woman Spins
Old woman spins silk onto spools made of pieces of pvc pipe. When we asked her (by translator) why she didn't wear her glasses to see the almost transparent fibers of organza, she answered "I only wear my glasses for TV!" The village has a little black and white TV run by a moto battery powered by a small generator.

Silk by Hand
Silk ready to be wound onto spools. This home is so clean and neat.

Village Farewell
Goodbye! Leaving the village, everyone accompanies us to the riverbank.
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Cambodia And Human Trafficking

On December 7th, performing artists, human rights activists, non-governmental organizations, and officials of the Royal Cambodian government will gather at Angkor Wat to focus world attention on the scourge of human trafficking.

A rock concert will be held at Angkor Wat, December 7th, in cooperation with MTV EXIT [End Exploitation and Trafficking], a project of the MTV Europe Foundation. This London-based charity is working to increase awareness and prevention of human trafficking exploitation. MTV EXIT in Asia is produced in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development.

British and a number of international artists will perform along with some of Cambodia's biggest recording artists, including Pou Khliang. The Angkor Wat show is part of an exciting nation-wide concert tour that began November 22nd at Ochheuteal Beach in Sihanoukville. The final concert, featuring Cambodian pop star Preap Sovath, will be held at Olympic Stadium in Phnom Penh on December 12 in recognition of Cambodia's National Day to Combat Human Trafficking.

"We are incredibly proud to perform at this important concert," said one band member. "We hope that through our music and involvement in this event and the MTV EXIT campaign that millions of people learn about this tragic form of slavery." The concert tour will provide content for a series of television programmes produced by MTV EXIT to be broadcast in Cambodia and on MTV channels internationally. These specials will combine concert footage with important information about human trafficking.

Public awareness is just one component of a larger global effort to prevent human trafficking. In its annual report on human trafficking, the U.S. State Department notes that the rule of law, an independent judiciary, and expunging corruption, are critical to the fight against trafficking. Estimates suggest that some 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders annually, with up to 80 percent of the victims being female and up to 50 percent being children. These figures do not include millions who are trafficked for purposes of forced labor and sexual exploitation within national borders as well.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said it is important for "responsible nations across the globe to stand together, to speak with one voice, and to say that freedom and security are non-negotiable demands of human dignity."
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