A Naperville boutique that supports international programs to get women out of prostitution and human trafficking is taking its cause to the Riverwalk on Saturday during a new, free event.
WAR Chest Boutique is sponsoring the first Celebrate Hope event to introduce people to the shop's mission, let them experience international hair and body art, and offer a fun experience along the popular path, said Meggie Zayas, a WAR Chest volunteer who is organizing the event.
The event includes free henna body art, free hair curling and an origami station from 11:15 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Free Speech Pavilion along the Riverwalk at Jackson Avenue and Webster Street.
"What we wanted to do was encompass a variety of things from different areas of the world -- the origami, the free henna, the Korean dance -- just as a day where people can come and not only learn more about what the boutique does, and of course learn a little bit more about human trafficking in general, but just a fun day on the Riverwalk," Zayas said.
The boutique, at Washington Street and Jefferson Avenue in downtown Naperville, is a nonprofit that sells jewelry, clothing and accessories handmade by women who have escaped prostitution and human trafficking. Proceeds support Women At Risk International, which runs roughly 115 programs across the world to help women get out of forced sex work.
"A lot of women through Women At Risk have been rescued and are now out of the life that they were in," Zayas said. "We should be celebrating that and standing together as we continue to lift women back to dignity and grace."
Saturday's event will feature dance performances by Naperville Central High School's Korean hip-hop group R41n at 12:30 and 1:30 p.m. Visitors also can write letters to women living in "safe houses" sponsored by Women At Risk International. Fair trade iced coffee will be available along the Riverwalk, and the boutique will be open selling things such as skirts made in Thailand, necklaces from China and bracelets from Guatemala, Zayas said.