Student sells bracelets to raise awareness for human trafficking


Parker Nolan

Senior Gabriella Diliegro purchased the bracelets through Pure Vida and resold them to raise money for the Treasured Vessels Foundation.

Katie Felton, Staff Writer

After watching a documentary about human trafficking, senior Gabriella Diliegro became interested in finding ways to help with the issue. When she stumbled upon The Treasured Vessels Foundation, she found a way to kill two birds with one stone by not only helping with the rehabilitation of girls rescued from human trafficking, but also finding a topic for her senior project.

“I got to talking with [Treasured Vessels], and I thought the work that they were doing was really interesting because more people are talking about stopping human trafficking and arresting people who do this stuff but not the actual rehabilitation of girls that are rescued because there is really no place for them to go right now,” Diliegro said.

Diliegro purchased bracelets from Pura Vida and sold them for $5 each during lunches, raising awareness and almost $500 for The Treasured Vessels Foundation.

“At Treasured Vessels, we are building a community of ten homes on 25 acres that will provide another resource for law enforcement, home lab security, FBI, and CPS to be able to provide a place for them to go,” Treasured Vessels Foundation Founder Alicia Bush said. “Not only can [the victims] stay in our community of homes for 18-36 months, but they will also receive academic education and 24 hours a day, seven days a week therapy that they need from being bought and sold as a commodity on the streets. There is a lot that goes with sexual abuse trafficking, so we want to be able to provide them another resource so going to jail isn’t the only option that they have.”

The main purpose of Diliegro’s project was to bring “awareness to this issue around here because human trafficking affects all parts of the world, even in Collin County.”

“I was very excited and eager to have her do this project because I think the piece all of us have been missing is getting students educated on what sexual exploitation is and what sex trafficking is,” Bush said. “I think everybody has a different definition, and so for her to be passionate about this and want to get educated about what it actually is and what it actually isn’t and to bring it to life to your student body was so exciting for me because that’s where my family is.”

Senior Parker Johnson bought a bracelet for both its appearance and the cause.

“I bought a bracelet because I believed it would go to a good cause and help people who needed it by potentially giving them a second chance at life,” Johnson said. “My friends and I all bought one because we trusted Gabs to do amazing things with the money.”

Diliegro chose to sell bracelets because “[you can tell Pura Vida] you are doing fundraising, and they can give you a discount price.”

“I thought more people would want to buy bracelets because t-shirts would be more expensive so the bracelets are just $5 each,” Diliegro said. “In my opinion, they are really cute and have lots of different colors, so there are more choices for people cause I figured a t-shirt would be like $10 or $15 at least, and I didn’t know if people would as interested in that.”

Bush said the first step to helping stop sex trafficking is awareness.

“Being able to say human trafficking not only is existing overseas but it also exists here in the states and exists in our community and in our own backyard,” Bush said. “And I think to hear that from a student is really important. For her to say, ‘It’s my age that’s being trafficked, it’s my age that’s being sexually exploited,’ I think brings more of a sense of urgency to the community because once we tell the parents, we’re already behind.”