Picking out new clothes could save a life.

Picking out new clothes could save a life.

Set Free, an organization focused on ending human trafficking, is hosting a clothing swap this weekend. Proceeds will go to Refuge Ministry, which assists women transitioning from prison to society in Wichita.

“Women in the criminal justice system who are transferring to society are very vulnerable because they may not have a home or a place to sleep right away,” explained Jamie Nelson, member of Set Free. “Some of these women could be in the system because they were trafficked into the sex industry and convicted for it, even though they were taken.”

The clothing swap will be held at Lincoln Elementary School, 900 N. Ash St. in McPherson on Saturday. Participants should bring clean, gently used women’s and children’s clothing, shoes, accessories or purses at 8:30 a.m. to set out items. Admission is $5 per person, and the swap will begin at 9 a.m. Each person may bring up to 10 items to swap, and may take the same amount.

“The swap raises awareness for our group, and it’s also an opportunity for people who might not be able to afford new clothes so you can swap out the old ones for new,” Nelson said. “It’s a good opportunity to get some back-to-school clothes for kids or new accessories. Any remaining clothes will go to a McPherson charity, like Mt. Hope or Save ’N’ Share, depending on their needs.”

Set Free is an international organization focused on the global impact of human trafficking, but Nelson explained that no one is immune to modern-day slavery.

“It can happen anywhere and it has occurred in McPherson. A lot of times we think it only happens overseas or to other people, but it happens in our back yards,” Nelson said. “Wichita is a big area for it because of the interstate system, and that transportation of goods can easily transport people. A lot of mothers have been targeted lately because mothers don’t want to cause a scene and want to protect their children.”

The McPherson branch has served the community for almost five years with fundraisers like 5-kilometer runs and booths in the Alternative Gift Market. Nelson explained that the group hopes to join organizations like Truckers Against Trafficking, which prevents abductions from truck stops by informing drivers about human trafficking.

“Our goal is to stop modern-day slavery, but to also prevent it by knowing what to look for and raising awareness,” Nelson said.

The clothing swap will have a brief presentation from Refuge Ministry, refreshments and door prizes, including Set Free t-shirts and the book “When Justice Just Is.”

For more information, visit the Set Free page on Facebook or the event’s page at https://www.facebook.com/events/820117708120188/