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Kiwi wine company gives all its proceeds to fight trafficking

The Project logoThe Project 12/02/2018 Newshub staff

A Canterbury wine label is donating 100 percent of its profits to an anti-trafficking charity.

A few years ago, Canterbury grape grower Pete Chapman and his wife Alanna visited their friend Keri in Calcutta, India.

They couldn't have known a simple visit to a mate would end up inspiring them to enter one of the most important battles in the world today.

Keri took them to visit someone he knew who lived in Calcutta's red light district, and what they saw there inspired them to start a surprising business back home.

Ms Chapman told The Project they noticed a group of five or six girls down an alleyway who looked distinctly different. When she asked why she was told they'd been trafficked from Nepal.

"I guess we had known that slavery and trafficking existed but it just hit me, that was modern-day slavery, right in front of me. I knew it in my head but I don't think I had known it in my heart, and to see it just broke my heart," she said.

"It was just one of those moments where you're just quite struck by something that you knew of but it just suddenly became real," Mr Chapman said.

Back home in New Zealand, the Chapmans couldn't shake the feeling they needed to do something - especially when they realised the scale of the problem.

Ms Chapman found a job at Hagar International, an organisation that helps trafficking survivors in Cambodia, Vietnam and Afghanistan, while her husband stayed busy managing his family's vineyard Terrace Edge.

"We had many conversations of different things we could do but a vineyard and wine and human trafficking - it's not a natural fit," he said.

But during last year's harvest, they figured out how to make the combination work.

"Pete came home and said, 'Hey, we've got extra riesling grapes and why don't we sell it as a fundraiser for Hagar,'" Ms Chapman said.

What started as a one-off fundraiser quickly became a new wine label called 27 Seconds.

It all started with a visit to a friend in India. © The Project It all started with a visit to a friend in India. "I guess we just thought it's where we've got resources and skill, let's make it work,' Mr Chapman said.

One hundred percent of the profits go to Hagar, to help survivors of trafficking like Longdy.

As a boy, Longdy's mother sold him to a broker. He was taken from his home in Cambodia into Thailand to work as a beggar.

"My life at Thailand is very terrible because I am a beggar and sometimes when I don't make money for them they don't allow me to have rice, don't allow me to eat anything, and some beat me and hurt me," he said.

The Thai police caught Longdy, threw him in jail, then sent him back to Cambodia. He was sold into slavery again not once, but twice. By the time he got to Hagar, he was deeply traumatised.

Today he's a counselor at Hagar, helping boys like himself through the process of healing.

"We don't care how long we take but we make sure that this person, this client will be 100 percent helped and strong."

It's stories like his that inspire the Chapmans to keep at it.

"That's what it's all about at the end of the day and I look forward to - as we manage to give more and more funds - tapping in and hearing more of the stories," Mr Chapman said.

The couple do not earn anything from 27 Seconds. Ms Chapman left her job to run the business while her husband fits the work in between hours at Terrace Edge.

 

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