by LINDA FRABL | photos by PortrArt Creations

Keyes to Freedom

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Carmel Valley’s Sofia Keyes was shocked and horrified when she learned that millions of men, women, and children around the world are exploited by the human trafficking industry. Frustrated by the lack of awareness and conversation around the topic, Sofia created Keyes to Freedom, a jewelry line that supports efforts to combat human trafficking. “I wanted to create a visible symbol for people around the world to empathize with victims and raise funds for organizations dedicated to stopping this exploitation,” she explained. “Pursuing this project has shaped my belief that business is a fertile ground for raising awareness.”

Created using 3D printing technology, Sofia’s Keyes to Freedom necklaces feature a key pendant necklace engraved with two hands embracing in the shape of a heart. Each wax model pendant is cast in silver or gold and adorned with an amethyst stone to represent hope. “The design serves as a symbol of our solidarity in the fight against human trafficking,” she said.

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Name: Sofia Jay Keyes (18)
School: Pacific Ridge School
Grade: 12
Website: www.keyestofreedom.org
Parents: Julie and Robert Keyes
Hobbies & Interests: Reading Latin American literature, making jewelry by hand, boxing and kickboxing, as well as experimenting in the kitchen
Favorite Local Spots: Bird Rock Coffee Roasters, 15th Street Beach, Torrey Pines State Reserve, Crunch Fitness, Del Mar farmers market, and most importantly, my own home


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The profits from Keyes to Freedom necklace sales benefit various nonprofit organizations around the world that work toward stopping the exploitation of its citizens. Each year Sofia aims to partner with a new organization, and then alternate annually between domestic and international NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations). This year, Keyes to Freedom partnered with The Freedom Story, which provides educational programs to vulnerable children in Southeast Asia. “This collaboration is especially meaningful because I traveled to Thailand last year and witnessed both the issue, as well as the regional efforts to help, firsthand,” Sofia shared.

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As a graduating senior from Carlsbad’s Pacific Ridge School, Sophia said her favorite class has always been Spanish. She elaborated, “I have sought every opportunity outside of the classroom to solidify my proficiency in Spanish, such as working at an international law firm where I can collaborate with bicultural attorneys and clients.” In the fall Sofia will attend the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan to study business law. Hoping to one day become a lawyer, Sofia will still remain dedicated to eliminating human trafficking. She admitted, “Ultimately, I am committed to eradicating a practice that unduly affects vulnerable populations by bringing their stories and our compassion out of the dark and into the light.”

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