The Pakistani-American model has launched WeModelUSA with her business partner Patricia Watts. WeModelUSA is a platform that serves as a modelling competition and also to help raise awareness of human trafficking.
“Human trafficking is an issue that is far beyond the smuggling of people. It’s the exploitation of the mind, body, and soul,” she wrote on Instagram.
The platform is meant to bring awareness to global issues through arts and mainly the modelling industry. “They say a picture is worth a thousand words and as a model you have the power to create global impact without uttering a word. But I urge you to go beyond what is asked of you, to break barriers, push your limits, and be the bearer of hope. #liveoutloud,” she added.
In conversation with Images, Sarish revealed that she and Patricia have been working on the campaign for months.
“Patricia has strong ties to the fashion industry and is also the Acting Chief of Science and Technology at the US Department of State. The ‘WE’ in WEModel stands for ‘Women’s Empowerment’ and our campaign in 2018 will focus on the plague that is human trafficking.”
“As promised, I’m doing my best to strike a balance between acting and law.” Sarish shared that her inspiration came from an event she attended concerning social change.
“I moved to New York City last summer when I returned from Karachi to continue my legal work. A few months back, I was invited to the “Brooklyn Conference: Inspiring Social Change” attended by reputable activists and artists such as rapper Black Thought, founder of Women’s March Linda Sarsour, founder of #blacklivesmatter Alicia Garza and the likes. It was amazing! It gave me the motivation I needed to think outside the box.”
Surprisingly, the issue of human trafficking came to her attention through football, and that too the Super Bowl while she was browsing online for tickets for this year’s game.
“I missed out on the 2016 season since I was in Pakistan and was contemplating attending the Super Bowl in 2018. I started looking into tickets and came across an article discussing the Super Bowl and human trafficking.”
“[Reportedly], the Super Bowl is the single largest human trafficking incident in America. It’s not that someone becomes a victim at the Super Bowl, but many existing victims are used and sold at the event. Many host cities have even taken an initiative to combat the negative effects of trafficking around the event but there is much that needs to be done. Beyond that, human trafficking is a global issue that needs awareness.”
Sarish is hopeful she’ll receive support from Pakistan and its government in this campaign as “Pakistan is a Tier 2 Watch-list country on the Trafficked Persons Report. So I certainly expect support from the Pakistani community, particularly from the government and entertainment industry.”
“Human trafficking can have devastating effects on the economy as well. I hope we can come together and ensure a more humane future for us all.”