Businesswomen join forces to empower human trafficking victims

Businesswomen join forces to empower human trafficking victims

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by MICHELLE BOUDIN / NBC Charlotte

Bio | Email | Follow: @MichelleBoudin

WCNC.com

Posted on June 24, 2013 at 5:30 PM

Updated Monday, Jun 24 at 8:46 PM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Call it street smarts: A former prostitute teams up with another Charlotte business woman to keep other young girls from sharing the same fate.

It's a bakery business that the owner says saved her life. Now she's teamed-up with another local bakery to save other young girls.

There is some sweet stuff going on at the Dilworth bakery.

“We are a custom cake shop, anything cake related,” Amy Craparo explains of her business, The Wow Factor Cakes.

She just opened her doors to a competitor in the industry.

“I was completely inspired by her story,” she says.

Neet Childs, the owner of Neet’s Sweets, now also works out of the same Dilworth shop.

Childs said, “When we got the call from Amy at Wow Factor it was awesome,” adding, “Neet’s Sweets was a way for me to turn my life around and make it out of a bad situation.”

Now 28, she was 16 when she became a prostitute.

“You’re thinking this person is a boyfriend-- your man and he loves you and young women-- you can manipulate their lives to believe anything, and that’s how young women get caught up,” Childs explains about the life she left behind.

After six years, she managed to get out of that business and into baking.

“I always remembered my aunt and wanting to be like her, and I was able to start it small and start a small cake business to rehab myself.”

Now she also works with other young girls by getting them into the kitchen, trying to help them avoid the life that she led. Her new business partner couldn't help but be impressed.

“Just the fact that she had the courage to make a change and to share her story with other people and that she did it through something she enjoys doing,” Caparo said.

“To be able to collaborate is awesome because you can bring young women in an environment that’s safe and they can learn a lot, they can learn a trade; it’s empowering.”

Neet says she hopes to be able to soon hire some of the girls that she is working with.

Later this week the women are officially launching their partnership and are inviting the public to check out their joint Dilworth bakery Thursday night.
 

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