"BARCELONA (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Sewing makes a welcome change from sex for the 20 women who escaped years of forced prostitution to stitch together a new life in Spain’s second city.
Paid work - making clothes - is a path back to normality, they say, a way to feel useful, not used, and learn how to fit into society after being trafficked underground.
“Working here I feel empowered, relaxed and happy,” said Fer, a 42-year-old former prostitute from Brazil whose name has been changed as she wished to remain anonymous.
Fer said working alongside other trafficked women in a simple, white, inner-city workshop had helped her move on and put the past where it belonged.
The women busily cut patterns and stitch garments, chatting as they work. Outside is the commotion of the Raval district – a hive of Pakistani grocers, poor immigrant families and tourists who cram the narrow cobblestone streets and mediaeval squares.
Inside is a women-only sanctuary.
The Dona Kolors clothing brand was born in 2012 to help women like Fer regain confidence and start afresh.
The clothes are simple, boxy pieces in linen and cotton aimed at 30- and 40-something women.
It is a social enterprise - a business that aims to do good - that was set up by a local Catholic organization, El Lloc de la Dona, Catalan for ‘Women’s Place’, which has for decades helped prostitutes in this crime-ridden corner of the city."
Read more from source here.
After two weeks at sea, the...31-year-old, Carola Rackete, has become a symbol of defiance for challenging the authority of minister Matteo Salvini, known as "Il Capitano" at home for closing ports to non-government rescue ships.
Speaking to reporters from her ship, the Sea Watch, via a Skype connection, Rackete said she was forced to enter Italian waters due to the worsening condition of the migrants plucked by her crew from international seas off Libya on June 12.
"The need which we have on board is psychological... The necessity to go into port is to prevent any harm or any self-harm which people might be contemplating," she said.
Rackete, a conservationist who has served on cruise ships and on a Greenpeace vessel in the past, has drawn strong support from Italy's pro-immigration opposition parties and also felt the sting of Salvini's ever-busy Twitter account.
She says she now devotes her time to rescuing migrants as a reaction to her privileged upbringing.
"My life was easy. … I am white, German, born in a rich country and with the right passport," she said in comments provided by Germany's Sea Watch, a charity that has been running rescue operations in the Mediterranean since 2014.
"When I realized it, I felt a moral obligation to help those who did not have the same opportunities as me." "
Read more from source at PRI here.