Human trafficking


Welcome to the social mission revolution. Each week we explore some of the greatest under told stories of businesses and every day people who are making their Ultimate Impact on the world with social mission. They share their stories, their inspirations, their successes and heartaches on the way to making that difference that we all long to make. This is Social Mission Revolution and this is your host Andrea Putting

Andrea: (00:53)
I’m here today on social mission revolution with Phoebe Lay and I’m really excited to talk to Phoebe. I’ve heard her speak before and I really wanted to get her on the show. So welcome Phoebe.

Phoebe: (01:10)
Thank you so much for having me here, Andrea. I’m really pleased to be here this morning.

Andrea: (01:16)
Yes. Would you like to just tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do to start with?

Phoebe: (01:22)
Yeah, sure. So for those that don’t know, I am the founder and the CEO of Thrive and Shine coaching as well as the founder of Matcha Sisters and Matcha Sisters and Thrive and Shine coaching have a common vision and a common purpose, which is to help abolish human trafficking and to stop and break the chains of human trafficking and modern day slavery. Sorry, a little bit about my two businesses Thrive and Shine coaching is a business coaching service, which helps entrepreneurs scale their business through online social media marketing. So I’m essentially a social media expert, a coach and a mentor for men and women in businesses who are wanting to create heart centered, purposeful businesses. And um, and what we do is we help them to implement proven strategies, that will allow them to rise up and thrive and shine. I think everyone does. And uh, you know, we all need that mental, we’ll need that support and we all need that structure and the framework to know the steps and the tools to get there.

Andrea: (02:41)
Yes. Because we can’t know everything and we need to be able to focus on what we do know and have someone help us along the way with what we don’t know.

Phoebe: (02:50)
Yeah. Yep. And exactly right. And, you know, with my first ever Matcha Sisters, I found that when I first started that I was doing everything on my own and trying to figure it out by almost reinventing the wheel. And I discovered that without a system, we end up wasting a lot of time by trying to save, you know, save ourselves the costs of a mentor or the education and the subscriptions here and there. So it’s always really good to have that, have that support. and that’s why Thrive and Shine came about. Because, you know, when I first started my first ever social enterprise, I knew nothing about business.

Andrea: (03:43)
I think many of us have no idea when we start, we don’t know what we’re in for, what we’re letting ourselves in for when we start business. It’s a real minefield. So the big question that I like to ask everybody is, what would you fight for? If it was just one thing that you were going to fight for in this world, what would it be?

Phoebe: (04:13)
Yeah, great question Andrea. My cause, and I, you know, something that I have been working towards for a very long time is seeing modern day slavery come to an end. And I discussed that, that in a very, very funny way. So just a really quick story of why and how, um, you know, this mission came to my heart. In 2014 when I first told my family and my parents that I was moving overseas, way back before I ever started thrive in Shine Coaching or even matcha sisters. I remember my parents saying to me, look, we don’t want you to go because have you seen that movie taken, taken one and taken two? And if you watch that movie, you will know that there’s a lot of human trafficking that’s going on. I remember at the time I was like, what? Like that is a movie that’s, you know, something that surely is not, you know, that’s surely not factual. But I remember watching the two Liam Neeson movies and thinking, Oh my goodness, like that is just absolutely horrific. And when I honestly do my research, I discovered that every 30 seconds someone becomes a victim of modern day slavery. And it is estimated that at the moment there is something, there is something crazy like 30,000, sorry, 30 million modern day slaves in the world.. So if you imagine that 30 million human traffic victims are in the world and every 30 seconds, you know that that number increases. And to combine that with realizing and discovering that only 1% of human traffic victims ever get rescued. I started to realize that, you know, there was something that was not right and there was something that I needed to do. And even though I was, you know, quite, it was quite unsettling. And even though I found that fact quite unsettling. I decided that rather than just dismissing it and thinking we can’t do anything about that, so let’s just hope and pray that that goes away. I decided that that was something that was going to be a driving force for me. So, so I then started to think about how I could contribute and, and things like that. And that’s where Matcha Sisters came about where I, you know, created a business just for the purpose of giving back to stop this, you know, this horrific thing that was going on in the world.

Andrea: (07:21)
I just find that that to me is such an inspiring story because the many factors, I often talk about going beyond the why , that our purpose, our calling in life is not about our own story. It’s where we’re being called to go. That can be something completely different outside of our own sphere of knowledge. And you’ve picked up on something that you had no experience on. It just came from a movie. I actually heard someone talking about this movie just two days ago, sitting at the airport. Somebody next to me, started to talk about it. And I remembered the movie and thinking about how that really does happen and how so so few people actually know there is problem with slavery. I actually, I had someone else say that to me not long ago. I have a tee shirt which has “This T Shirt frees slaves or something along those lines. And they said, “Is there slavery today?”.

Phoebe: (08:26)
Well, absolutely. Really, absolutely. According to some estimates, approximately 80% of human trafficking involves sexual exploitation. So that’s, you know, like sex trafficking, where women get sold by partners, by boyfriends, by this family who kind of Floyd their living anymore and, and women and children get sold. And you know, there’s about an 18%, 19% that get sold into labor force labor and 80%, you know, involves sexual exploitation. So, you know, sex, labor and, um, and you know, for like forced prostitution, that is something that is happening more and more. So human trafficking is, you know, it’s, it’s huge. So if you think about like drug trafficking and, you know, like trafficking of illegal weapons and things like that, like human trafficking is why up there. But there, there’s not a lot of information out there and not a lot of people that are aware of this, uh, you know, of, of this situation, which is why it’s so important more than ever, to be, you know, partnering up and, we’re partnering up with organizations that, you know, that are fighting human trafficking that uh, breaking the chains and, uh, you know, breaking that system of human trafficking. So, you know, that’s something that, that’s something that is just, yeah, it’s, it’s such a horrific thing, but something that a lot more people need to know about.

Andrea: (10:06)
Yeah, we’re really, really left in the dark about so many things and this is one of them that we really need to bring up the information and let people know that this is what’s still happening in the world. Because I think most people be horrified when they actually start to understand what that’s all about.

Phoebe: (10:27)
Yeah.

Andrea: (10:28)
So what you’re doing is, is helps to support these organizations who go in and help to free these people who are trapped in these circumstances.

Phoebe: (10:39)
That’s right. Sorry, at Matcha sisters, we give 50% of profits back to stop human trafficking through partnering up with a charity called Abolition as well as Hagar Australia. So Abolition, is the organization that is, you know, breaking that system of human trafficking for things like education through technology. And I’ve got, amazing technology now where there’s like artificial intelligence where they can scan adult service sites to find human trafficking victims through facial recognition. Um, they’re all so breaking the system of sex slavery. Um, by educating, you know, children in schools. They are, , running conferences for doctors to educate them on how people show up in the waiting room when they’ve been trafficked. Because a lot of the time the signs, people don’t pick up on that unless they are educated about it. Um, and you know, they’re, they’re putting programs in schools now. They’re, um, you know, they’re doing professional training and raising awareness. Um, so Abolition is, um, an organization that we are now pottering up with, through, Thrive and Shine coaching and Matcha Sisters. Another organization that we support is Hagar Australia who are helping with the recovery of survivors of human trafficking.

Andrea: (12:10)
Yeah. Because it’s not just freeing them from that situation. It’s rehabilitation so that they can reclaim their lives, isn’t it

Phoebe: (12:21)
exactly right. That’s exactly right. It’s helping them to reclaim their lives and to rebuild their strength again and understand that they have an identity outside of that horrific experience that they had. And, and you know what Hagar do is amazing. Like I remember when I first, you know, I discovered about the work of Hagar Australia. I was just absolutely amazed at the impact that they’ve made on the number of lives, um, in helping rebuild the lives of women and children who have escaped human trafficking, slavery and abuse. Um, and they do the, they do the most amazing work in countries like Cambodia, Afghanistan, and Vietnam.

Andrea: (13:05)
Yeah. Because really they need to find that sense of worth, again in their lives. Don’t they? Feeling like they’re valued for something else besides their bodies or whatever it is that they’re being sold into.

Phoebe: (13:21)
Yeah, definitely. Definitely

Andrea: (13:23)
They want what we all want to do in and have love and acceptance and to make a difference in the world.

Phoebe: (13:32)
Exactly right.

Andrea: (13:34)
Do that again. Yeah. We all should have the right to have our dreams and to live them. So what I like to also look at is how do you find that affects? Like you’ve got these two businesses now, but how does that affect the way that you, it’s

Phoebe: (13:58)
Look Andrea, I think that when it comes to starting a business, a lot of people are now, you’re finding that a lot of people are starting businesses for the wrong reason. And there are businesses popping up everywhere these days and people are more and more people are starting to believe in their dreams and their visions and starting, you know, their own journey and starting their entrepreneurial journey, which is amazing. And something that I have found is that business is not necessarily easy. It’s actually one of the hardest things anyone could ever jury. And every single day you are facing something that is, you know, so easily pulling you, going to pull you down. And so every day business owners face the risk, the challenge of failure. And there’s, there’s nothing else that has a, you know, has such a low success rate than business. So what I think is really, really important is that business owners need to combined their vision with a deeper purpose and with something that is much more meaningful and something that is much bigger than themselves. They need to feel like they are contributing back to society and giving back in a way that is not only just about themselves and their family, but something that is, you know, philanthropic, something that is giving back to the world that’s going to make a change and an impact and leave a legacy. And so I found that, you know, having, you know, by starting up Matcha Sisters and combining that with the fact that we gave 50% back to human trafficking. And because that is such a big, cause for me, I found that even during times where I’ve nearly given up Matcha Sisters and I remember, you know, I wrote an exit strategy and wrote a date for that. And it was meant to be 2018 when I wrote the exit strategy and I said, look, I’m going to stop this business, sell his business, and just focus my time and energy on Thrive and Shine Coaching, because you know, Matcha Sisters because, we were giving 50% of profits. It was such a, we had such small margins that I just thought like, I’m going to leave this now. That was a journey. That was a beginning. And, and I’m going to now just focus all my time, you know, onto the one craft. But I found that that vision that I had, that initial vision and the purpose behind it really kept me going. And during times where, where, you know, you might feel like, yeah, you know, it’s not worth it continuing this business because it’s just so hard or there’s just so much work involved, um, that’s going to really anchor you back. And what happened was in 2019 when I took that break over Christmas and new year, I started to discover that my passion was still there. It was a, you know, I still really had these passion for health and wellbeing and green tea as well as, you know, that human trafficking side of things. And this year it’s now, uh, the 7th of March. I have hardly put any, any more time and energy into Matcha Sisters than I did last year. But with that, re-alignment and with that reignition of that purpose, we are now in 26 different cafes across Australia and I’m in Bali and Matcha Sisters is now, you know, a thriving brand again and um, you know, and it’s something that just happened because of that, you know, that passion and that alignment.

Andrea: (17:55)
Wonderful. So what you’re saying it is that we just, when you have that passion alignment behind what you’re doing, which has a greater picture, then everything else seems to open up and allow you to, to grow even further.

Phoebe: (18:15)
Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely.

Andrea: (18:19)
There are always challenges along the way with that. It’s never a hundred percent easy, is it?

Phoebe: (18:23)
No, it’s the, every business will come across its challenges and its road blocks. And it’s just about moving through it and working through it and continuing to look at the bigger picture. To remind yourself of why you got started, what the purpose is, what the vision is, and um, and, and finding something bigger to work towards. So that when times do get tough, um, you know, you’re, you’re kind of almost like staring at these end goal and you’re staring at the goalposts and knowing that, you know, it’s worth it. It’s worth the fight. It’s worth the hard work. It’s after day because it is something that is a cause that is meaningful to your heart and meaningful to the world and society.

Andrea: (19:17)
Yeah. When you stop and think, it’s not just me, if I can walk out of this, and that’s not just that, it’s not just me, it’s what else I’m doing for the rest of the world. For, for those women who need, support. And like you said earlier, someone you saw a cause, well someone’s got to do something. Oh, that must be me. And so that kind of attitude helps to keep us in alignment with who we are and what we’re about. Doesn’t it? And keep this in that.

Phoebe: (19:51)
Exactly.

Andrea: (19:52)
Yeah. Awesome. There is just, it’s wonderful to have this something that just keeps you going, keeps you drawing forward. Um, be nice if we didn’t have these issues to work with, but we do. And, and as long as we see that something. I have a little saying, which I have here somewhere, which I just feel like it’s appropriate for me to just read this. “There are things you need to do. There are things you want to do. Then there’s a calling. It goes beyond the why”. It may make no sense and it will disrupt your life, but this is something you can’t not do. This is where you unleash your ultimate impact. And I kind get the feeling that that’s what it’s like for you with, with your cause of the human trafficking, that it’s just something that’s disrupted your whole way of thinking and your whole life and you have to make this priority of making a difference in that way.

Phoebe: (21:05)
Yeah. There is so much truth in what you just said in that quote and uh, there is just so much that I resonate with, you know, in, in that quote, because it really does like you say, disrupt how you see your life and how you see the world and also, you know, your, your vision and mission in life. it completely changes everything because you’re no longer just doing things, you know, for your own self and you’re doing things for a bigger purpose.

Andrea: (21:43)
And you have a really big purpose here and I, I really respect you for what you’re doing. I love to see people making this incredible direction of that this is a focus in their life like you’re doing.

Phoebe: (22:02)
Thank you Andrea.

Andrea: (22:03)
So Phoebe what was involved in actually setting up your social enterprise and , getting this started because it’s a bit of a hard thing to get your head around is who you get this idea. You think, well, I’ve got to do something. What was the challenges that you went through and how did you get going on, on starting your business?

Phoebe: (22:29)
Yeah, well, when I first started Matcha Sisters I literally started that business with zero business background. It was my first ever go at, being my own boss and starting my own business. And so I had this big, vision and big idea that, you know, I was going to, give and contribute to a cause. I’ve, I really wanted to do that so badly, um, and to make such a big impact. So I started that business not knowing anything about numbers, which I do know and understand now. And I, um, and, and it was a very big figure that I, that I actually thought it was very small at the time. I said, you know what? I want to start by giving 50% of profits. And I remember at the time I had, there was another girl who I was starting up the business with you know, was more leaning towards the 10, 10% Mark but she had a completely different cause that she stood full so that that didn’t really, you know, end up working. And we, you know, we just went our separate ways and I continue to launch Matcha Sister regardless, but looking now I think what’s really important is that business owners need to understand that if you’re not making a profit and if you’re not actually, you know, taking care of yourself, then it’s really, hard to make an impact and to actually create a business that you can, you know, that will survive, that will give you enough ammunition to continue even when it gets tough and you know, for that to survive in order for you to give that he’s that profit away. So I think it’s really important to look at your numbers and to work it out carefully and, and to be willing to be flexible as well. You know, just because you start off with saying you want to give 50 or 10 or 5% doesn’t mean that you know, society and everyone on social media is going to hold your word against you and go, Oh, you know, you’ve changed. Why. If you aren’t profiting and if you’re not taking care of yourself, then it’s really hard to sustain a business. So, so that’s one thing. The other, the second thing is that, you know, go and find a cause that obviously aligns with your mission, but reach out to them because organizations really appreciate the support that they can get. And so if you can reach out to them and actually have a meeting with someone on the team so that you know who you’re giving your money to and you actually can say that they, you know, what they’re doing is, you know, like if you can see that what they are doing is impactful and they’re, you know, and most of the profits is really going to that cause and their margins are really small and that it’s not going towards, you know, Epic branding for instance, or you know,big Christmas parties, etcetera. Um, or you know, the CEO’s, you know, luxury car, then you will feel a lot better. And is that way where people’s money’s going is to a good and reliable organization.

Andrea: (25:51)
Yeah. It’s really important to be doing your due diligence with what organizations you do get involved in. Even when they do have a, a charity aspect that we can always be sure of who they are and what they’re about. So we need to do our double checking and getting in touch with them and talking to them so that we really can see that what we’re wanting to do is in alignment with, with what they’re doing. And we choose the right people to partner with.

Phoebe: (26:26)
Absolutely.

Andrea: (26:27)
I’d like to give you an opportunity just to plug that. How can people get involved with, with what your doing if they feel that that’s a passion that I would love to get involved in or in your end. And also help out with with Matcha Sisters. And all that you do.

Phoebe: (26:50)
Yeah. I think that the best thing that listeners can do moving forward is to stand for something and to stand for something that is much bigger. Like I said, and I, and I feel like I keep saying the same thing, but you know, it’s to stand for something that is bigger than yourself, that is bigger than just making money and, uh, you know, putting the bread on the table for your family and it’s something that is going to really leave a legacy. So I really think that, you know, if, if human trafficking is a cause that you want to, that if that’s something that you want to learn more about, um, that I would encourage listeners to, to, you know, go and do some research, um, you know, look up the global slavery index and just type in countries like, Cambodia like Romania, like Italy and I look at the stats and, and, and discovered the truth about what’s really going on in the world at the moment. There are organizations, um, like Abolition, like Hagar, you know, there’s A21, there’s Stop the Traffic Co, that there’s so many organizations that you can support. Um, and if you love tea, if you love green tea and you love, um, or, you want to try Matcha.  Matcha Sisters is my social enterprise. we sell ceremonial grade matcha, which stemmed from me wanting people to be drinking the highest quality matcha on the market. And obviously that was combined with my vision to abolish human trafficking. So you know, matcha has 137 times more antioxidants than green tea and a cup of yeah, it’s amazing for your health. It has 10 times the nutrients of green tea and half the caffeine and coffee so it doesn’t give you the jitters. So, if that’s something that you know, listeners wants to try out, then feel free to jump on matches sisters.com today you, um, and use the use the promo code “VIP Matcha” for 20% off. Otherwise, if you’re a business owner and you are wanting to grow your online social media presence, um, and, and really, you know, align your mission and your business and your purposeful business, um, and, and show that to the world and showcase that case that to the world. Then I have a social media agency called Thrive and Shine and I obviously have a coaching business. I coach business owners with the steps and the system to thrive in business through marketing and social media.

Andrea: (29:51)
All very wonderful. You do, you’re doing a lot of stuff there, Phoebe. It’s great to see. And I love to see, see you thriving and shining in your work. And I’ll put some links under the podcast with your message so that people can easily link onto to any of those different things, whether it’s a trafficking or Matcha Sisters or your coaching services.

Phoebe: (30:20)
Thank you, Andrea. I appreciate it.

Andrea: (30:22)
No, I thank you so much for your time, Phoebe. I think you’ve been a real inspiration to people and you will continue to be so and making a big difference in this world and having your ultimate impact in, in a way that’s unique to you. We like to commend you for what you’re doing.

Phoebe:(30:43)
Thank you.

Andrea: (30:45)
OK, thank you. And we’ll talk again next week on social mission revolution.

(31:04)
This has been the social mission revolution with Andrea Putting, join me again next week when we’ll speak to another Social Mission Revolutionist who will inspire you on your journey to making your ultimate impact on the world.