January is an important month at BEST because it’s National Human Trafficking Awareness Month. Human trafficking happens when (1) force, fraud or coercion are used to compel a person into work or the sex trade or (2) a minor performs a commercial sex act. There are two types of human trafficking: sex trafficking and labor trafficking. In public facing workplaces, human trafficking often operates undetected, but its prevalence is more pronounced than many people realize. One industry that can certainly intersect with human trafficking victims is the restaurant and hospitality industry. Baristas, servers, managers, and bartenders have the unique opportunity to recognize the warning signs of human trafficking and ask someone if they need help. Raising awareness is often the first step for combating human trafficking, so employees can know the signs and steps to safely intervene.
This National Human Trafficking Awareness Month, BEST is thrilled to highlight a small business that’s making a big difference in raising awareness about this critical issue within their community. At Bellden Cafe, located in Bellevue, Washington, when customers purchase a Wellness Box, there is a unique twist. It directly supports charitable initiatives promoting health and well-being for people in need.
Owned and operated by the compassionate Claire Sumadiwirya, Bellden Cafe's Wellness Boxes are not your typical curated items. Crafted with care, each box features items made by refugees, including coffee beans, granola, and a candle. What makes these boxes special is the inclusion of a book that spotlights a revolving cause—and this month, the cause is preventing human trafficking. Each Wellness Box costs $68, and all the proceeds from these boxes go directly to a charity selected by Bellden Cafe. BEST is the honored charitable recipient this month.
In the spirit of National Human Trafficking Awareness Month, each Bellden Wellness Box becomes an educational tool. Claire knows the fight against human trafficking isn't something that’s happening far away. It's happening closer to home than most people realize. Victims might be among us, going about their daily lives, especially in places like cafes, restaurants, and other venues within the hospitality industry.
"We need to be aware of our surroundings and support efforts against this issue. Human trafficking victims are not strangers, they could be someone you encounter every day," Claire explains.
Bellden Cafe is raising awareness by posting BEST’s Not Alone human trafficking awareness campaign signage in their business, they are also a member of BEST’s Safe Jobs Collaborative which hires human trafficking survivors, and they are making a difference by raising funds to support BEST’s work as a corporate sponsor. By actively supporting BEST’s mission in these ways, Bellden Cafe is demonstrating how a purpose-driven businesses can take a creative and proactive stance against human trafficking.
BEST was founded from the belief that businesses can take a more active role in preventing human trafficking. Through each Wellness Box sold, Bellden Cafe is turning this belief into action. BEST is extremely grateful to Bellden Cafe and Claire for their dedication to preventing human trafficking.
To join the cause and purchase a Wellness Box, head to Bellden Community Wellness Box – Bellden Life. Let's come together in fostering change, one box at a time, and be part of creating a world free from human trafficking.
About Bellden Cafe and owner, Claire Sumadiwirya
Claire, a Bellevue native, found her calling during an extended work trip to China when her newborn fell ill, and she experienced the challenges of caring for a sick child without access to hospital-based cafes. Claire negotiated the opening of in-hospital cafes, driven by a mission to provide solace and nourishment to families facing similar struggles. She later expanded her mission to Bellevue, launching Bellden Cafe on Main Street. Now a mother of three, Claire continues to blend coffee and community, with Bellden Cafe thriving as a popular spot where proceeds from drinks support local charities addressing healthcare, homelessness, human trafficking, and family wellness initiatives. Visit www.belldencafe.com to learn more.