Nibley-based bedding company Malouf and Operation Underground Railroad have worked together to address the worldwide problem of human trafficking before — now the two entities are ramping up their efforts in some new ways.
Malouf has already provided bedding for aftercare centers of O.U.R., a California-based organization that rescues children all over the world who are victims of human trafficking, the company said in a news release. Soon, the company plans to emphasize collaborative human trafficking efforts when they launch a new product.
“It’s a great position to be in where we’ve got a lot of primary care products, like bedding that people in disasters or unfortunate situations need,” said Sam Malouf, the company’s CEO. “I think all of us were very touched and motivated by the cause of saving kids out of these terrible situations.”
Jessica Mass, director of aftercare for O.U.R., said Malouf has provided its mattresses in Uganda, Mexico and Thailand since she started working with the nonprofit three years ago. Last week, she said, Malouf provided new pillowcases, sheets and mattresses for an entire home in Latin America.
Meanwhile, O.U.R. has rescued 745 victims of human trafficking and assisted in 365 arrests of perpetrators of trafficking over the last three years, according to its website.
“We do collaborate with a lot of different companies and nonprofits. However, our partnership with Malouf is very unique,” she said. “Malouf has gone above and beyond with helping with the actual needs of the survivors.”
As an example, Mass explained how CEO Sam Malouf and others with the Nibley company were willing to use mattresses in the country they were helping rather than ship their own products from overseas.
Mass remembers people associated with Malouf saying that they want to do whatever’s best for the local economy, and, more importantly, whatever’s best for the girls.
New collaboration opportunities
Malouf is set to release a new “active dough” pillow Jan. 28. For each sale of the new pillow, the Malouf company will put $5 into the Malouf Foundation. Sam Malouf said he hopes the money made from the pillows will go toward funding law enforcement resources and other things meant to combat human trafficking.
An industry event in Las Vegas will follow the pillow product rollout. At the event, O.U.R. and Malouf will announce new ways the industry can get involved to combat human trafficking.
“We’ll have several thousand of our contacts there,” Malouf said. “It’s meant to be kind of a bedding industry cause that we’re trying to push and get everyone behind us.”
Mass said the event, with a keynote address by O.U.R. CEO Tim Ballard, will provide education for “so many people who have never been introduced to human trafficking.”
Las Vegas is a fitting backdrop for the event, Mass said, since the city has a “huge human trafficking problem.” The conference will be about “education, prevention and raising more funds to support survivors of human trafficking,” he added.
Malouf said human trafficking is an issue his entire company and industry partners can get behind.
“I think sexual crimes against children is probably the worst crime that you could commit,” Malouf said. “A lot of people are in on it, a lot of people in high places are aware it’s happening but aren’t doing a lot about it. I think it’s the type of cause where we feel like … building awareness will create a snowball effect of people being able to change some of the terrible things happening.”
Worldwide, there are nearly 21 million victims of human trafficking, a $150 billion industry which involves enslaving people typically to obtain some form of labor or sex, according to the U.S. Institute Against Human Trafficking.