By BRITTANY LEE WALLER
It’s a beautiful thing when the young come together and use their evolving social engagements and all round ‘inter-connectedness’ for a good cause. It’s even more beautiful when that social activity transcends into real societal action. Project Futures, a not-for-profit organisation globally combating human trafficking and sexual exploitation, is a network of socially engaged and well connected individuals who share a desire to see sex trafficking abolished in our lifetime. And they’re back at it for the third time, with bow ties on and moustaches groomed, to share the love and chivalry for their 2013 Stella Fella campaign.
CEO and Founder of Project Futures, Stephanie Lorenzo believes that if we want to create change on an international level, then we need to start cultivating expectations and attitudes in the place we are most affective, our local community. “We can fight this social issue right here on our own doorstep,” she says.
“Stella Fella Friday (August 16) is the day we celebrate the men in our lives; the unsung heroes, the quiet achievers and the ‘nice guys’. By wearing a bow tie on August 16, we send a message to men everywhere; it’s time to step up and accept the challenge of becoming a role model in the community and bring an end to exploitation.”
With a gentlemanly theme of bow ties, this week marks the launch of the annual campaign, which will raise funds for anti-human trafficking projects in Australia through the Salvation Army. In celebration of all things chivalrous, the 100% silk bow ties have been specifically created by Sydney menswear company Belmondo, with ten different designs available to reflect the personalities of the Stella Fella celebrity ambassadors. This year Stella Fella steps into the public with the support of TV hosts Ash London and Scott Tweedie, Jarryd Hayne, Drew Mitchell, Matt Doran and Geoff Huegill as champions putting their name, face and voice to the Stella Fella message.
Having started Project Futures in 2009 out of her own passions, Stephanie encourages all members of the community to, “help stand and raise awareness for this cause by purchasing your own Stella Fella bow tie and wearing it however you like to showcase your support for these great men that are standing up against human-trafficking”.
“Many people assume that human trafficking is a thing of the past and that it does not encroach on contemporary Australia. However, our research and experience demonstrate that human trafficking is a reality in our community. As a nation, this is something we need to talk about and the Stella Fella campaign is driving this conversation. This event also raises much needed funds to support those affected by human trafficking,” says Captain Melanie-Anne Holland of The Salvation Army’s Samaritan Services
Since its inception in 2011, Stella Fella has so far raised $75,000. As in previous years, $30 from each Stella Fella bow tie sold will be donated to The Salvation Army’s anti-human trafficking unit.
Stella Fella bow ties are available now to purchase online and from Project Futures volunteers around the Sydney CBD on Stella Fella Friday on August 16.
To purchase a bow tie, nominate a Stella Fella or find out how you can get involved in the campaign visit this page.