Unverified non-profit organisation

Freeset is a fair trade business that offers employment to women trapped in Kolkota’s sex trade. It makes quality jute bags and organic cotton t-shirts, but Freeset’s business is freedom.

The objective of Freeset is to see the 10,000 sex workers in its neighborhood empowered with the choice of leaving a profession they never chose in the first place.

Freeset is a charitable organization which operates alongside the business providing literacy classes, child care, budgeting and debt management services. It is located in Sonagacchi, the largest, most infamous sex district in Kolkata, India. Within a few square miles, more than 10,000 women stand in line selling their bodies to thousands of men who visit daily. Many are trafficked from Bangladesh, Nepal and rural India. For others, poverty has left them without options. The cries of their hungry children drive them to sell their bodies.

Freeset opened its doors in 2001 with twenty women brave enough to trust a couple of foreigners and seize the opportunity to leave the sex trade behind. Women could be trained with new skills for a new job and empowered with life skills needed to appreciate freedom. They are paid around twice the going rate for an equivalent job elsewhere and as part of their employment package have health insurance and a pension plan. A woman is employed full-time to ensure that staff is able to access their health insurance entitlements.

In India, prostitution is big business and thrives on exploitation and slavery, robbing the poor of dignity and innocence. Every woman who finds freedom through Freeset also brings freedom to her family. They find hope for a brighter future and the means to make it a reality. As the business has grown, a positive community has emerged calling itself the ʺFreeset family. This family not only supports its own members, but impacts on the wider community. The common understanding is ʺwe’re in this togetherʺ.

Today more than 160 women are on their journey to freedom at Freeset.


Year established


About this organisation

Partnership types

Advocacy of global issues

Regions / countries / territories

Asia: India

Global issues

Community development; Education and training; Job creation and enterprise development; all (6)

Business sectors

Personal care; Retail trade