Kerry & Annie Hilton are New Zealanders with hearts for the poor and oppressed. In 1999 they moved to Calcutta, India and naively found an apartment on the doorstep of the city’s largest red light district, a place where poverty is no stranger. Setting out to make a difference, the Hiltons took up the challenge of founding a business to bring hope and freedom for women trapped in the sex trade. After spending two years getting to know their neighbors and doing research they opened the doors of Freeset, providing 20 women with dignified employment and freedom from the prostitution. Freeset offers training, basic education, health care, budgeting advice with a savings account and a nursery. Today, Freeset, whose goal is to bring freedom to as many women as possible through sustainable business, employs around 300 staff.
With a vision of seeing more than 10,000 women free, Kerry & Annie launched a new business venture in 2012. The Freeset Business Incubator aims to plant new freedom businesses at source and destination in West Bengal and Bangladesh.
Freeset products are environmentally friendly and the business is Fair Trade certified. More than 200,000 customized jute bags are produced each year as well as 100% organic cotton tee shirts, cotton scarves and pants for the export market. Freeset products are sold into more than 25 countries. Human trafficking, poverty and social justice are issues Kerry grapples with every day. An engaging storyteller, Kerry is motivated by God’s heart for the poor and our responsibility as global citizens.