Buy Her Bag…..Not Her Body!


Hearing the story of Nomi and how she inspired Diana Mao to establish a movement to protect victims of and women at risk of falling prey to the sex trafficking industry compelled 4word to partner with Nomi Network to help share their story and support their cause! Browse their selection of bags, clutches, t-shirts, and more in the online 4word Store. Purchase with Purpose this Christmas and help support organizations like Nomi Network while also supporting 4word!



In a world of innovation, the latest and greatest are often the only thing we as consumers care to notice. When was the last time you stopped to consider how that latest gadget or garment came to be in your hand? Would you have gone through with your purchase if you knew that your new toy was a direct result of child labor? Diana Mao, founder of Nomi Network, took her first-hand encounter with the brutal reality of what forced and child labor does to a community, and decided to do something about it.


4word: How would you define social entrepreneurship?

Diana: Social entrepreneurship is creating businesses that address social problems. My personal definition is “businesses that create a world without slavery.” The biggest problem today is the fact that there are 32 million slaves around the world, more than any time in history. As a society, we’ve gotten to a place where at least 68% of the raw materials used in our apparel, coffee, and chocolate are manufactured or produced through forced or child labor. Businesses are not doing much to address these issues, and it only gets spotlighted when extreme tragedies such as the factory collapse in Bangladesh occur. I believe that more can be done and every business should be socially and entrepreneurially aware and active in the cause to end modern day slavery in our lifetime.


4word: What led you to found Nomi Network?

Diana: At the age of 25, I was a graduate student at NYU learning about issues such as poverty, human trafficking, and other pressing global issues. Stats thrown around in class were truly meaningless to me until I witnessed the horrors of sex trafficking first hand in Cambodia while conducting research for a micro-finance bank.

P1000775The research brought me to some of the poorest and most remote villages in Cambodia. It was there that I met a single father with seven children. He offered his youngest daughter, no older than seven years old, to one of my male colleagues. As I looked into the father’s eyes, I could tell that he was desperate and did not really want to give her up. In Cambodia, some children are sold for brutal sex, and others are chained to a sewing machine in a sweat-shop.

This encounter left a lasting impression on me. It is clear that poverty is a breeding ground for traffickers to prey on young girls. After coming back from Cambodia, I was determined to do something, and in 2009, I co-founded Nomi Network, a non-profit organization named after Nomi, an eight-year-old survivor of sex trafficking. Nomi Network creates economic opportunities for survivors and women at risk of sex trafficking by providing entrepreneurship, leadership, and technical training to women in Cambodia and India, linking their products to the global market while working with retailers and consumers who seek to purchase ethical products. Recently, joined the movement by purchasing our products which can be found online.


4word: How rampant is human trafficking across the world?

Diana: Human trafficking is a $99 billion industry, with 32 million slaves around the world. Sadly, girls like Nomi are being violated repeatedly. In 2008, my life totally changed when I met Nomi. When I first arrived at a human trafficking shelter with Alissa Moore (Nomi’s co-founder), to our surprise, a young girl ran to us and threw her arms around me. She said, “HELLO, My name is Nomi. Sister, what is yours?”

As I walked through the shelter with the director, I tried very hard to hold back the tears as he shared Nomi’s story. Nomi was not only sexually exploited in her village by her step-father but was also treated like an animal and literally locked up. When she arrived at the shelter, she was nonverbal, did not have any grooming habits, and did not know how to use the restroom. She drooled all the time and was violent. Nomi is just one girl, but after hearing her story, I knew that, if only for her sake, I had to do something. I talk more about this in the video below.


4word: What is Nomi Network doing to help stop the spread of human trafficking?

Diana: Nomi Network provides training and creates job opportunities for survivors and 1920593_10152444844503803_5817084845063955752_nwomen at risk of human trafficking. Last year, we trained over 100 women and created over 300 jobs in some of the most poorest and remote parts of the world where slavery is prevalent. Nomi Network has been effective at increasing wages by at least 200% in some cases and moving women to advanced career paths including becoming entrepreneurs in their villages. We help support over 1,200 children last year through our programs and the sale of our awareness raising products, the “Buy Her Bag, Not Her Body” collection. This collection can be found through select retailers, on our website, and now on the online 4word store.


Diana Photo4word: How has Nomi Network affected your life?

Diana: Nomi Network has changed my life in extraordinary ways. I would not have the strength to lead this organization if it wasn’t for God’s presence, love, and grace in my life. My faith in Christ has strengthened as I have seen Him turn Nomi Network from a volunteer network to a global non-profit organization that is making great progress towards ending modern day slavery. It has taught me that faith can move mountains. God’s provision was clear when we were funded by the Department of State within only our second year of operation. God’s healing has been prevalent in the changed hearts of our women, who have transformed from distrust and behavior problems to mentoring and helping each other when in difficult times. God’s divine plan has been made clear through the girls that we have been able to send to a boarding school and prevent from being child brides or sex workers.


4word: How can our readers support Nomi Network?

Diana: Readers can Buy Her Bag online and through the 4word store. 100% of the proceeds from our website are directed back to our programs. Readers can also pray for our women and consider hosting a Nomi Network home party for their friends and family to help raise awareness.


4word: Anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

Diana: As women, what we buy matters and who makes the product matters. Please help us raise more awareness about this issue by sharing about our work on Facebook and Twitter.


Diana’s life was changed through one experience, leading to a new life path that has impacted the lives of hundreds of women. Let the story of the Nomi Network make you more aware of not only the world around you, but also the inner calling of God.

What is one surprise experience you’ve encountered that ended up altering the path of your life?


Diana Mao received a Bachelor of Arts in Business Economics/Accounting and Chinese at the University of California Santa Barbara and a Masters in Public Administration, specializing in International Management at Wagner, New York University. She has expertise in governmental consulting, domestic and international economic development, social entrepreneurship, micro-finance, and launching awareness raising campaigns. Diana is the co-founder and president of Nomi Network, an anti-human trafficking organization based in New York City. Prior to founding Nomi Network, she was a senior consultant at a consulting firm based in Washington D.C. She is a blogger for the Huffington Post, Reuters and occasionally the United States Chamber of Commerce Business Civic Leadership Center. Diana currently attends Times Square Church.