SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KSFY) - According to the Human Trafficking Institute, South Dakota ranks 11th in the nation for human trafficking. And one Sioux Falls business is using a simple home item to benefit survivers.
The downtown store Simply Perfect has teamed up with Call to Freedom to help survivors of human trafficking transition back into the community, all with the help of a candle.
"Each candle is unique; just like each of the women are unique," Beth Gammel, Simply Perfect production director, said.
A candle can entice the senses and bring a feeling of comfort for many during this time of year. But, these Freedom Candles mean much for to survivors.
"It was one of those feelings of something that keeps tugging on your heart," Penny Klinedinst, Simply Perfect owner, said. "I was never aware that human trafficking was happening in our state. It was disturbing, and once I knew it, I couldn't not know those things. And so, it was, what can we do?"
What both Simply Perfect staff and Call to Freedom decided to do was give these survivors a space to begin anew.
"We work directly with the survivors of human trafficking, and each candle is hand-poured by the women," Gammel said.
The scent can be described as light and airy to give the meaning of new and fresh beginnings. For many survivors of human trafficking, the chance to make these candles helps shine the light on an issue many face when transitioning back to work.
"One of the things about human trafficking is it is a hidden crime," Becky Rasmussen, Call to Freedom executive director, said. "People don't talk about it until we shed light on it. So, for Simply Perfect and their team to believe in our women that we serve. And to come alongside them to be able to offer job opportunities. So, this is a gift, and it is also allowing those that we serve to be able to believe in themselves and gain the skillsets to be able to go on and be self-sufficient."
Eight women are taking part in the program so far, but they anticipate the program to continue to grow. The group has made more than 2,000 candles.
"I get very emotional about it; I think our entire team does. And we're just; we're not anyone special," Klinedinst said. "We were a shop that saw a need, and we saw that we could meet it. And that's all we're doing."
All net proceeds raised from purchases of the candles goes back to help Call to Freedom. You can get your candle in-store at Simply Perfect, call 605-338-3599, or order online here.
The store is also working on bath items to benefit Call to Freedom, as well.