[Congressional Record Volume 164, Number 95 (Friday, June 8, 2018)]
[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E812]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]

                            THE TOTE PROJECT


                              HON. TED POE

                                of texas

                    in the house of representatives

                          Friday, June 8, 2018

  Mr. POE of Texas. Mr. Speaker, friends always bring out the best in 
each other. In the case of Fay Grant and Michelle Chavez, friendship 
yielded a business idea that would combat a social ill.
  These best friends have always had a heart for helping others. 
Several years ago, Grant had a full-time job as a music editor for 
Sony. On the side, however, she made tote bags by hand from old fabrics 
and clothing scraps, which she then sold to raise money to help the 
victims of human trafficking. Chavez, a music director for a website at 
the time, had also taken on roles to help fight human trafficking. She 
became an active campaigner, attempting to broaden awareness and 
exposure to fair trade and human trafficking.
  The two friends realized that they could do even more by combining 
forces, so they decided to turn Grant's bag endeavor into a full-time 
business, which they named the Tote Project. The main goals of this 
venture are to give back to others, to promote ethical manufacturing, 
and to spread awareness of human trafficking.
  The business took off, and soon Grant and Chavez were struggling to 
keep up with an ever-increasing demand for their eye-catching bags, 
with requests pouring in from not only from America but also from 
Australia, Germany, Japan, Korea, and several other foreign countries.
  Rather than selling these trendy, hip bags for profit, however, the 
two decided that they would use a portion of the proceeds to help 
victims of human trafficking. They found a willing partner in Two 
Wings, an organization that mentors human trafficking victims and helps 
them achieve their vocational and professional goals. Ten percent of 
the profits made by the Tote Project go directly to this organization.
  The two have gone a step further in providing not only financial 
assistance to human trafficking victims but also employment and job 
training. All of the bags for sale on the company's website are 
handmade by women who were either trafficked themselves or have deemed 
to be at risk of being trafficked.
  Human trafficking occurs in America and around the globe. Thousands 
of people are coerced or kidnapped to be trafficked, and thousands more 
are living with terrible physical and emotional scars as survivors of 
  The Tote Project's logo features the blue rose, a symbol of achieving 
the impossible and defying the odds to fight human trafficking. Mr. 
Speaker, we need more individuals in the world today like Fay Grant and 
Michelle Chavez striving to achieve the impossible and end this scourge 
on humanity once and for all.
  And that's just the way it is.