Kerry & Annie Hilton are Kiwis with a particular bias towards the poor, oppressed, the lonely and the outcast. In 1999 they moved to Calcutta, India and naively found an apartment on the doorstep of the city’s largest red light district, a place where poverty is no stranger. Setting out to make a difference, the Hiltons took up the challenge of founding a business to bring the choice of freedom for women trapped in prostitution. After spending two years getting to know neighbors and doing a bit of research they opened the doors of Freeset, providing 20 women with dignified employment and importantly freedom from prostitution. Along with on the job training Freeset offers services such as basic education, health care, budgeting advice and a children’s nursery. Today,Freeset’s strives to offer the choice of freedom to as many as possible and currently employs around 300 women.
With a vision of seeing more than 10,000 women free Kerry& Annielaunched a new business venture in 2012. The Freeset Business Incubator aims to plant new freedom businesses at source and destination in West Bengal, Nepal and Bangladesh.
Freeset products are environmentally friendly and the business is Fair Trade certified. More than 200,000 customized jute bags are produced each year as well as100% organic cotton tee shirts, hand woven cotton scarves and cotton pants for the export market. Freeset products are sold into more than 25 countries.
Human trafficking, poverty and social justice are issues Kerry grapples with every day. An engaging storyteller, Kerry is motivated by God’s kind of justice, his heart for the poor and the responsibility we all have as global citizens.
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