It was during a trip to a remote village in Cambodia that Diana Mao first met a little girl who changed her life. Nomi, 8 years old, (not her real name) was the victim of sexual slavery. Mao was so moved by her story that upon returning to New York, she began building the Nomi Network, an organization devoted to helping women and girls involved in Cambodia’s sex trade.
The non-profit, based in Chinatown, helps businesses establish “transparent supply chains” using fair-trade labor – and connects consumers with socially conscious retailers. The group also sends designers and marketing specialists to Cambodia to help trafficking survivors create a high quality line of products.
This Friday and Saturday, the Nomi Network will have a booth at the 2010 Lunar New Year Festival in Sara D. Roosevelt Park. They’ll be selling their custom-designed line of tote bags, made from recycled products. Visitors will also be able to pre-order from the spring collection. All proceeds support the organization’s programs in Cambodia. Also on Friday they’re having a dance-a-thon to raise money for the Nomi Network and the victims of the Haiti Earthquake. You can find more information about the fundraiser here.