Religious Life Community collecting bras for financial freedom


The Religious Life Community is partnering with a nonprofit organization, Free the Girls, to donate bras to sex-trafficking survivors across the world. Organizers said they hope to get up to 50 bras by Thanksgiving. (Photo: Josie Clarke/The Simpsonian)

by Grace Peck, Special to The Simpsonian

INDIANOLA, Iowa — Simpson College’s Religious Life Community is fighting for justice by partnering with Free the Girls, a nonprofit organization that collects new or gently used bras and gives them to sex-trafficking survivors in other countries, helping them earn financial freedom.

RLC partners with a social justice program every year, and for the past few years they have been working with Free the Girls. They help these survivors by sending bras to women in El Salvador, Mozambique and Uganda.

According to Free the Girls’ website, these women are taught to sell the bras in the second-hand market through their programs, giving them a safe income and most importantly, freedom.

RLC Intern Rachel Hollingsworth, a junior religion and psychology major, works in the outreach circle of RLC and said the bras are unique and important to these women.

“The bras represent power to the women, and they are a unique clothing item in that they are worn and made for women,” Hollingsworth said. “They are more of a rarity in the areas they are being sold, which helps them gain financial stability and freedom.”

While Hollingsworth has seen some strange reactions to seeing bras in a church, especially to those from the Indianola community, she said it gets people’s attention for a good cause.

“I like having the display out because it’s provocative. At the end of the day, it’s just a bra. It wouldn’t be that weird to see shirts. People need them,” Hollingsworth said.

The drive is up to 42 bras as of last week. Organizers are hoping to get up to 50 by Thanksgiving. Men can contribute as well, Hollingsworth added, by simply purchasing a bra at Wal-Mart or other stores in the area, or they can help donate cash for shipping costs.

The bra drive has officially ended, but donations can be made in the RLC office up to Thanksgiving. For more information, contact Hollingsworth or visit the Free the Girls’ website.