Totes designed by human trafficking survivors sold to support them

Human trafficking survivors in the Vegas Valley are creating HOPE totes to sell.
Published: May. 16, 2023 at 6:25 PM PDT
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - Human trafficking survivors in the Vegas Valley are creating HOPE totes to sell. Creating art can help them heal and raise money at the same time. Friday, FOX5 spoke with the women behind the idea.

“Fay and I first learned about human trafficking ten years ago and we were just horrified. I actually saw undercover footage of children in brothels, and you can’t unsee that,” shared Michelle Chavez. Chavez and Fay Grant wanted to do something to help.

“We were able to just channel that sadness and turn it into action,” Chavez recounted. The best friends co-founded the Tote Project.

“I had started sewing tote bags and pouches myself out of scrap material. We realized we could put our skills together and actually make a business out of it and impact people,” Grant explained.

They created their tote bag company to empower survivors of human trafficking. In Southern Nevada, sales from pouches are helping expand emergency housing for survivors as they escape their pimps or traffickers.

“Our partnership with the Tote Project has been really beautiful. It started a few months ago when we did an art workshop. We zoomed them in. We had a watercolor art time with our survivors in the program,” stated Captain Lisa Barnes with The Salvation Army Southern Nevada. The program: SEEDs of Hope. Seeds stands for Saving, Empowering, Educating, and restoring Dreams to lives shattered by human trafficking, currently serving 32 people.

“We try to encourage art projects as a way of therapeutic release,” Barnes added. The art on the HOPE tote was created by a group of eight local survivors.

“Three of those eight women have already graduated and are living self-sufficiently here in Las Vegas,” Barnes revealed.

“We just love to have that personal interaction with survivors. We can see them thrive and pursue their dreams,” Grant said.

The pouches were so popular when they debuted, they sold out but they have been restocked if you are looking for a last-minute Mother’s Day present. You can find them on: .

The bags are fair trade and sewn in India by human trafficking survivors and those at high risk of trafficking.