Change makers: Eden

Image of body part

In a world shadowed by human trafficking, charity organisation, Eden stands as a beacon of hope. Eden champions survivors through uniquely crafted jewellery, transforming their narratives into symbols of resilience.

28 September 2023

We spoke to Eden’s Country Manager for Australia, Michelle Kerr about Eden’s impact and their fight against trafficking, bridging from Myanmar to Australia.

What inspired Eden’s unique mission, and how has this mission personally resonated with the women you’ve helped?

For almost 20 years, Eden has been at the forefront, rescuing over 1,800 women and girls from human trafficking and sexual exploitation in Southeast Asia, with a significant focus on Myanmar.

Eden’s mission is to Be Light. Bring Hope. Share Love. This directive emerged from witnessing the darkness that envelopes the crime of trafficking. Yet, we believe even in the profoundest darkness, a touch of light, hope, and love can ignite true transformation.

This trinity of light, hope, and love underpins our every action. The women and girls we support encounter these pillars from their initial meetings with our frontline teams in brothels and trafficking hubs. It’s on this foundation that they find the courage to escape their dire circumstances, transitioning into partnership with Eden, where they rebuild lives marked by health, hope, opportunity and freedom.

Could you share an uplifting account of how making jewellery has been a source of healing and empowerment for the women in your programs?

Marlar, previously a victim of modern-day slavery, transformed her life at Eden. Through intensive counselling and creative therapy, she quickly excelled in jewellery making. Now a prominent figure in Eden’s workshop, Marlar’s crafted pieces not only provide her financial autonomy but also fund programs aiding women with similar pasts. Her newfound voice and courage inspire and uplift her peers. Every piece of Eden jewellery worn signifies solidarity with brave women like Marlar, challenging injustices and inspiring hope.

How has Eden’s commitment to love and compassion impacted you and your team personally, especially when dealing with the harsh realities of human trafficking?

Our heart at Eden, and the posture that each of our team members chooses to hold is bold, courageous and propelling. Despite the overwhelming and harsh realities of what we encounter, see and hear every day, HOPE is at the core of everything that we do. Choosing hope and not despair means that, individually and as a team, we can continue to strive for freedom and change and share love and opportunity with every individual we encounter – no matter what role they play in the trafficking and exploitation web.

Amidst political and economic instability, how has Eden adjusted its approach to continue providing critical support? Could you share how this has impacted the women you work with?

Amidst Myanmar’s socio-economic decline and rising poverty, exacerbated by military rule, Eden has pivoted to address food insecurity and its link to increased trafficking vulnerabilities. In the past year, we introduced urban farming and microgreens programs in key townships. As malnutrition surges, our goal is to harness the nutritional power of microgreens, converting them into powders for impoverished communities. Expanding this initiative, we’re establishing more greenhouses, educating women from our program in organic farming, aiming not just for self-sufficiency but also as a preventive measure against re-trafficking.

Image of adult

Can you provide insight into how the revenue generated from jewellery sales directly enhances the quality of life for the women involved in Eden?

Eden Myanmar works directly to address human trafficking and exploitation, while Eden Australia amplifies awareness and finances our on-the-ground efforts. As a registered Australian non-profit, all donations and profits from our Eden jewellery enterprise directly fund essential services like safe housing, health care, and prevention. Our focus is comprehensive: from restoration to empowering survivors with employment. Each Eden beneficiary, on average, uplifts 4.2 others, leading to transformed communities.

Eden jewellery, handcrafted by survivors, embodies their stories of courage. Every purchase directly aids women in our all-encompassing program.

Though they’re paid a full wage from day one, jewellery crafting is only part-time. Their journey includes counselling, therapeutic arts, and education, ensuring healing without financial stress. Crafting these symbolic pieces becomes a therapeutic act of empowerment for survivors.

What do you envision for the future of Eden?

In 2023, human trafficking remains the world’s second-largest criminal activity, generating over USD$150 billion annually, with USD$99 billion from the sexual exploitation of mainly women and girls. Myanmar’s vulnerabilities to trafficking have intensified due to COVID-19 and the 2021 military coup, leading to a surge in victims and evolving criminal methods impacting globally. At Eden, we respond with boldness, leveraging our freedoms to advocate for the voiceless. We venture into the most challenging areas, illuminating darkness with hope and love, amplifying awareness, and believing that even minor public awareness can create significant change.

This is Eden…

Together with women rescued from human trafficking, we create precious jewellery that carries their stories. By purchasing and wearing Eden jewellery, you are fighting human trafficking in a tangible way. You are supporting Eden’s programs, advocating for a world free of slavery, and spreading a message of hope. Want to know more or get involved?

Contact or visit our website,

Image of accessories
Image of people