Fair Trade Mother’s Day Gift Guide

Fair Trade Mother’s Day Gift Guide

Mother’s Day is coming up! This one may feel a little (or a whole lot) different. It’s harder to see people, and shopping in stores is not an option for mostThe one thing that’s going to remain constant though? Our love for the moms in our life.  

Some of us are celebrating our own mothers; some of us are helping our little ones celebrate our partners. Some are honoring the moms of their found family. No matter what your family structure looks like, it’s a day to show some extra love to the maternal figures in your life! And we’re here to help, with some ethically-sourced gift ideas for you.  

1. A Full Belly and a happy heart

Fair Trade Foods

The way to the heart is through the stomach–what better way to show it than by gifting the maternal figure in your life a meal that will taste good and feel good?

Chocolates are a surefire win for the mom who loves sweets. Local Houston stores like Chocolate Bar and Araya Chocolate are some of our recommendations. You can also check out national brands like Divine, Endangered Species Chocolate, or Tony’s Chocoloney.

If mom’s more of a brunch person, a breakfast in bed (or porch) is sure to make her smile. Check out some fair trade recipes here   

2. Accessories fit for a queen

Fair Trade Jewelry

Give the gift of jewelry to your mother–and the gift of freedom to a survivor of trafficking with these products. These are either made by survivors, or support organizations that combat human trafficking. Most can be ordered online if the physical storefront is closed.  

Noonday Collection is a great source for ethical products supporting a variety of causes. Be sure to check out their accessories collection online 

Another site to shop at for accessories is Trades of Hope. They fight human trafficking, and keep moms with their kids, by providing stable and sustainable work for women artisans across the globe. This Mother’s Day, you can give a gift not just to the maternal figure in your life, but to a mom overcoming difficult circumstances too. 

3. A relaxing space

Fair Trade Scents

Candles and other scented products are a classic for a reason. Check out these ethically sourced products for Mom! 

Elijah Rising’s candles provide employment for survivors of human trafficking, and proceeds help fund long-term comprehensive care for adult survivors. They also offer soaps and other bath products on their website!  Winton and Waits, based in Fort Worth, carries amazing products like rollerball scents, bath products, and scented oil diffusers. 

Meanwhile, Sparrow House Botanicals sells products that are made by survivors of human trafficking. Made with ethically sourced ingredients, these products also help fund aftercare for women who have escaped sex trafficking. They have a variety of botanical products—if you have trouble choosing, they also have convenient gift sets! 

4. Quick Gifts

Available for pick-up or fast delivery

Okay, be honest. We’ve all been there. It’s a few days before the big day, and you only just realized it’s coming up. No gift in mind? No problem! Here are some quick and easy products that you can get in a pinch, without feeling guilty about the rush.  

Lush’s storefronts may be closed, but their online delivery is still going strong! Check out their adorable (and ethical!) Mother’s Day themed products here.  

Fair trade flowers are another Mother’s Day staple. Florists like Sense Ecuador are a great choice. You can also buy from Whole Foods—be sure to look for the Whole Trade marker! 

If she’s a coffee or tea drinker, we have the stores for you. A 2nd Cup is more than a cafe—it fights human trafficking by raising awareness and providing resources to survivors. Their storefront is closed for the time being, but their online shop is still open! In addition to getting coffee and tea, you could also surprise her with a flavor syrup for her daily drink, or a coffee accessory! Numi is also a great vendor for Fair Trade, sustainable organic teas.  

Whether she’s near or far away, you can still show the maternal figures in your life that you care. This Mother’s Day may be very different—but the love we have for the moms around us is never going to change.  

A Letter to Survivors

A Letter to Survivors

A Survivor Is

A person who continues to function or prosper despite opposition, hardship, or setbacks.

person who is able to continue living his or her life successfully despite experiencing difficulties.

A survivor –beats the odds, has courage and strength, and is a true inspiration.

A survivor is … YOU.

To any Human Trafficking Survivor, to any Domestic Violence Survivor, to any Addiction Survivor, to anyone struggling to find their way, and to anyone who has felt like things would never get better, this is for you.

Dear Survivor,

You are important. You are intelligent. And what you bring to the world is impactful.

Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise. Your purpose has always been bigger than your pain. You have had moments that you have overcome that many don’t know about.  Yet, you are still standing.

Your presence on this earth is meaningful. Your life lessons are meant to be shared with someone else who may have dealt with or are dealing with something you once did. You are the center of your own universe.

You are in control of your choices.

You have the most control over your own fate, destiny, and mood – which make up your thoughts, beliefs and actions. You decide how your life will be spent, and that is why you are important.

Your life matters. Your thoughts and actions can change people’s lives. You are valuable, you have purpose, and most importantly, you are a survivor.

Our world can be so negative, and people who are not empowering or happy with themselves may try to tear you down. Don’t allow it.

You are on a road to making your life the way you want it to be and even better. Remain on this road. Be happy on this road. Allow yourself the pleasure of inspiring yourself and others on this road.

I love you. I appreciate you. I appreciate you for being the individual that you are. I appreciate you for lifting yourself up when you felt like life was knocking you down.

Life is not easy, and yet, in the middle of a storm, you choose to go out in the rain and do what you need to do in life in order to get things done. I love and appreciate you for that. Always remember that there is nothing wrong with appreciating yourself and putting yourself first.

You are courageous.

You are not afraid to step out on a limb and go for your goals, no matter how difficult it may seem. It takes courage to put yourself out there, showing up day after day in the way that you do, fighting the good fight. You choose courage to brush the dirt off after a knock-down and get right back in there.

You have courage to honor your boundaries and speak to what needs speaking to, courage to not take things personally even when things get heated. It takes courage and resilience to stand strong in yourself knowing and trusting your own path, even when those you care about the most may be headed another way.

Still, when you may be criticized, you are courageous. You know it takes courage to address the things that may be hard and scary.

One thing I want you to remember is to empower yourself.

Self-empowerment is so essential. It’s also liberating because you are taking full responsibility for your life: making your own choices and decisions, and living according to your own personal operating system and values. You are free from the anxiety and fear of living up to the expectations of others, experiencing the joy of being authentically yourself.

Remember all of this, and you will go far. Empowerment is not an arrogant thing. It’s something that should make you feel good inside. If it ever makes you feel any other way, follow your own steps to eliminate that. Understand the growth that you have experienced and what is to come.

Recognize that growing is honorable.

When that happens, it shows that you are pushing yourself to become not just good, but great.

Personal growth is something you achieve consciously. It is a long-term project that never ends yet brings rewards every day. This is the project of building a self. Everyone has a self, which serves as a platform for all the things that happen over a lifetime. Upon this platform you can build a structure of values that become more fulfilling day by day. Growing is a part of life, and while it may be scary, it’s necessary to make it in this world. It’s something that pushes you far beyond places that you ever assumed you would go.

Take time every day to remind yourself of your highest aspirations, the hopes and dreams that make you most human. By nourishing yourself in this way, you are asking your highest self and soul to become part of your daily life.

To finish, I’ll leave you with this quote from Denzel Washington:

“Ease is a greater threat to progress than hardship. So, keep moving, keep growing, keep learning. See you at work.”

Continue to use your voice. You are a survivor. You are important. You matter.

Au’Vonnie Alexander | Youth Coordinator

Why Do Survivors Need Case Managers?

Why Do Survivors Need Case Managers?

Survivors can focus on healing, rather than maneuvering through logistics.


A survivor’s healing plan is extensive and can be confusing. Each person’s process differs. That’s why a trained, professional Case Manager is necessary to build a custom plan to meet their needs: from immediate necessities like food, clothing, and tonight’s shelter to sustained needs like healing from trauma and substance dependency, building life skills, and living independently.

Survivors have accountability to attend every counseling session, job training, and support group they need.


Trauma rewires the brain, limiting new information. When a survivor takes the first step in their healing plan, they are overwhelmed by appointments that they were initially excited about.

But it’s nearly impossible to remember their schedule because their brain is still stuck in survival mode. Our Case Manager will ensure that the survivor has the encouragement to make it to every appointment vital to their healing. 

Survivors have a trustworthy professional to help them overcome the barriers of healing.


Survivors often trust the person who exploited them – a parent, a friend, a romantic partner, an employer. It takes work to learn how to trust again and time for us to earn it.

Our Case Manager will be a reliable guide, someone survivors don’t need to worry about judging or abandoning them.

With this strong foundation of trust, a survivor can turn to our Case Manager to remove language barriers, to provide a sense of safety, and to even navigate the frustration of small confusions like phone menus.

We care about each person’s entire story, and we want to walk with them the whole way – not just the first step.


Thanks to your support, we hired a trained Case Manager.

Thanks to your generous support, we hired Erin Martin, a trained Case Manager with over 12 years experience. She joined our team to work alongside survivors from the day we meet them until full recovery.  We need to make sure survivors don’t fall through the cracks. A survivor who feels isolated today can have a reliable and caring guide because of you.

$50 can provide a month of transportation for survivors to attend therapy, medical appointments, and job interviews.

$100 can supply clothes for job interviews for survivors to become fully independent.

$600 can ensure a month of case management for a survivor to navigate the challenges of healing.

$1,000 can provide the Family Huddle Series for a survivor and their family to learn vital coping skills.

What’s the Key to Long-Term Healing?

What’s the Key to Long-Term Healing?


Cora’s knee bounced nervously as the phone rang in her ear. It clicked then she heard a soft, “United Against Human Trafficking, this is Briana.”

Cora hesitated—then, “Hi, I’m Cora,” she swallowed hard. “I need help.”

It didn’t take long to realize that repeated sexual assault from countless solicitors meant Cora needed a long-term plan to help her recover physically, mentally, and emotionally. She needed a Case Manager, but we don’t have one.

Briana contacted a partner with a Case Manager, but their caseload was overflowing. They lacked the resources to help Cora, too.

I know how much Cora’s suffering weighs deeply on your heart.

You want to know that victims like Cora receive care, and you want to make sure they live free. We have a solution – one you can make a reality.

I have good news and I have bad news for you.

First, The Good News:

UAHT expanded to a second location in February!

Our new office is home base of our case management for trafficking survivors. Your 2019 donation funded the growth of our survivor support groups and preliminary case-management services!

Now, the bad news:

full-time Our program isn’t fully funded.

Right now, there aren’t enough Case Managers to guide the healing of tens of thousands of trafficking victims in Houston. Too many survivors like Cora have fallen through the cracks because there aren’t enough resources to meet every need.

We’re taking responsibility to make sure that all the survivors we meet get the long-term, comprehensive care they lack.

You – our community – have called on us to fill the gap by hiring a Case Manager to work alongside survivors from the day we meet them until full recovery. But we don’t have the funds to make this happen yet, especially after COVID-19 hit.


You helped us get the building, will you help a sex trafficking survivor live free from his abuser’s control – for good?

You’re the key to case management.

We need to make sure survivors don’t fall through the cracks. A survivor who feels isolated today can have a reliable and caring guide because of you.

$50 can provide a month of transportation for survivors to attend therapy, medical appointments, and job interviews.

$100 can supply clothes for job interviews for survivors to become fully independent.

$600 can ensure a month of case management for a survivor to navigate the challenges of healing.

$1,000 can provide the Family Huddle Series for a survivor and their family to learn vital coping skills.

How You Can Fight Human Trafficking From Home

How You Can Fight Human Trafficking From Home

With parks closed this weekend, we thought you may be looking for something to do while you’re stuck inside. Check out these 4 virtual training opportunities and stay tuned to our social media for more to come!

1. A 2-Minute Video to Help Your Kids Navigate Social Media and Video Games Safely
2. An Open Letter of Encouragement to Survivors
3. La Trata De Personas

A Mini Human Trafficking 101 Training in Spanish

4. Human Trafficking Webinar: For the Community

Monday, April 13th | 5:00PM-5:30PM

Celebrating Easter and Springtime In a Pandemic

Celebrating Easter and Springtime In a Pandemic

It’s early in the morning and I step outside the door. It just rained the day before, so there’s water in the air: Springtime in Houston. As I savor a moment of quiet before my daughter wakes up, I think about what I am going to do to celebrate Easter this year. Coronavirus has disrupted our lives and displaced us from our home.

My partner works in healthcare and so we made the difficult decision to divide and isolate our family to protect our 16 month-old daughter. We are fortunate to have the resources to be able to make this decision and to move in with my parents, so their house has become a multi-generational home. 

Like a lot of parents navigating their families through this unprecedented time, we seek to create a sense of normalcy for our children and ourselves.


Like you, we are establishing new routines where the old ones don’t fit. This is easier said than done, especially when you are struggling to find work, struggling to work from home, or struggling to survive the day. 

To be honest, I had not thought much about Easter or Spring in the pandemic. Life had become too chaotic, switching hourly between the job of Mom and Abolitionist, disjointed at times with a news alerts that were ever-changing, and at the end of the day, I just longed for a sense of peace. 

This morning, as I breathe in the dewy Spring air, I try to focus on building that normalcy.


Easter and Springtime can conjure images of rainy days, blossoming lilies, and bunnies. It can be hard to focus on keeping traditions and old routines during a pandemic, mourning what we have lost.

This year would have been my daughter’s first official Easter Egg Hunt and I worry that it won’t be special without the traditional activities and gatherings.  At UAHT, one of our core values is Adaptability, and this is definitely a situation where I channel this particular value.

I’m amazed at how I’ve seen you and this community adapting to our circumstances.

Since Springtime can also be a time for renewal, I decide to let go of what I had thought Easter should be and welcome what it is this year.

I have gathered some environmentally sustainable and Fair Trade ideas to help your family and friends practice social distancing while celebrating the season. 

1. Dye Eggs with Kitchen Basics

Eggs can be hard to come by during the pandemic, but if you have some, The Spruce Crafts shares a number of ways to color eggs that would be a great activity to engage the children. The most basic involves food coloring or Kool-aid. 

2. Use Toilet Paper Rolls for Spring and Easter Crafts

If you are not into prepping and coloring eggs, try collecting all the toilet paper rolls you have accumulated in quarantine and turn them into art. Consumer Queen curates 15 awesome Easter toilet paper roll crafts, some of which you will want to keep crafting as Spring rolls along. 

3. Fill Easter Baskets with Fair Trade Chocolate

If you are short on time and have the means, a couple of businesses are offering bundles that are ready-made and ethically sourced. A 2nd Cup may have temporarily closed their doors, but they have put together some cute baskets (with Fair Trade chocolates) for Pick-up or Delivery. If you want one, you will have to order pronto, because they are going fast. You can also restock your pantry and get some of your favorite morning roast while you’re at it. 

4. Try a Fair Trade Recipe

These tumultuous times are a good time for connecting and grounding yourself. Gather your family and friends virtually and try the same Fair Trade recipe. Fair Trade USA, the body that created the Fair Trade Certified label, has worked with chefs, influencers, and producers to create recipes using Fair Trade ingredients.

My weekly pick is the Avocado Chocolate Mousse, because 1) it seems simple enough that a baking novice like me could make it, 2) avocados were on sale at Sprouts and 3) I scored Fair Trade Certified chocolate chips at Whole Foods. 

5. Relieve Your Stress with A Well-Deserved Bath

Need a little TLC for yourself or want to send a gift to a loved one? Lush has great Easter and Spring bath bombs that are adorable and smell amazing. As you indulge in a little self-care with Lush, you are supporting fair wages, environmental sustainability and good working conditions. 

I hope these ideas inspire you to renew old traditions and create new ones this Spring. My daughter and I will likely be indulging in some toilet paper roll-play and eating Fair Trade chocolate chips straight out of the bag. At UAHT, we hope you have a lovely week with family, friends, and loved ones near and far.