Sarah Beisly was born in Auckland, New Zealand. She holds a business degree from Massey University. In 2002, Beisly visited Kolkata, India, where she discovered and was inspired by Freeset, a pioneering business that provides alternative employment for women trapped in the sex trade. After spending a year in Bangladesh learning Bangla – one of the most spoken languages in Kolkata – in 2011 Beisly and her husband, Paul, moved to Kolkata. Together, they established The Loyal Workshop, an ethical leather-goods workshop that offers employment to women seeking to free themselves from sex work.