When the organic protein bar company Square Organics found a new CEO in co-founder Sarah Gordon, female empowerment quickly became one of the brand’s driving missions. In 2013, Square Organics embraced a new partnership with the renowned charity group Not For Sale as a means to assist life recovery after human trafficking.
Origins of Not For Sale
Not For Sale began in 2000 when co-founder David Batstone discovered a human trafficking ring in a neighborhood restaurant. While researching for a book entitled Not For Sale, Batstone met a woman in Thailand named Kru Nam who was helping usher children out of slave labor into safety. At the time, the children were living in a field. This compelled Batstone to raise funds to build a house for Kru Nam and the children she saved. When the number of rescued children rose to 150, Batstone expanded housing plans into aspirations for an entire village.
Not For Sale has since developed its focus to aid life recovery after human trafficking. Currently, Not For Sale serves as a fully-fledged campaign to provide housing, access to clean water, and professional skills for survivors of trafficking in twelve different countries.
In Thailand, Kru Nam continues to work as a minister at Not For Sale’s two main facilities. Not For Sale’s shelter center offers balanced, nutritious meals; the education house guides victims to healthy, productive lives through therapeutic and educational services. In 2019, Not For Sale Thailand’s rescue center served a total of 500 people, including 235 children.
In general, Children without a defined nationality are denied a government education and, therefore, are vulnerable to exploitation. For these reasons, Not For Sale centralizes the protection of stateless children located in cities around Myanmar and Northern Thailand. Thailand’s Not for Sale program is especially inclusive. For example, the programs’ centers are the first in the country to aid young male survivors.
Above all, Not For Sale Thailand prioritizes children’s education, providing primary, secondary, and even university level schooling. Not For Sale’s learning centers, which include several boarding schools, equip hundreds of child victims of human trafficking with a proper educational environment. The Thai government has praised Not For Sale Thailand as a model program.
In 2012, Not For Sale started the Netherlands Project, with a strong emphasis on the capital city of Amsterdam. The Netherlands Project trains survivors of human trafficking in culinary skills. Survivors begin the program by cooking and selling soup to women working in the brothels of Amsterdam’s red-light district.
As trainees advance through the program, they transition to paid internships and job placements. One placement opportunity is Not For Sale Amsterdam’s very own restaurant Dignita, which hires graduates directly. Since its opening, Dignita has served over 180,000 meals. By coupling the therapeutic power of cooking with the opportunity of a career in the culinary industry, rehabilitated survivors are equipped with skills that aid life recovery after human trafficking.
In 2020, Not For Sale Netherlands will open its third restaurant in the country. The new restaurant is in partnership with Not For Sale Netherlands’ Buddy Program, which teaches participants to read and write Dutch or English.
Not For Sale put roots down in Peru with several special projects. Peru sees a massive, detrimental amount of forced servitude. For instance, several thousand individuals in the Amazon region are subject to forced labor across the mining, logging, and agricultural industries. Not For Sale first teamed up with Peruvian abolitionists to create a shelter system for Peruvian survivors. Since it began operation in Peru, Not For Sale has shifted its focus towards creating legitimate work opportunities. This plan will, most importantly, serve to eliminate one of the root causes of Peru’s glaring slave labor issue.
In an attempt to improve the exploitative conditions of Peruvian work culture, Not For Sale partnered with Palo Hawken for the REBBL herbal extract launch. This project hired survivors and at-risk individuals to produce a tonic made of roots, berries, bark, and leaves. A portion of the proceeds made from each bottle sold is used to fund Not For Sale Peru projects. These projects include a new school, a scholarship program, community green spaces, and clean water systems for the Santa Teresita Native Community. REBBL has generated over $1 million for Not For Sale Peru to date.
Square Organics and Not For Sale
Square Organics donates to the Not For Sale campaigns quarterly based on net sales. These steady donations help reintegrate victims of human trafficking into society by stabilizing their life recovery process. The Square Organics company also encourages its consumers to donate directly. Certainly, the increased attention and donations help improve the lives of human trafficking victims and fight to dismantle an industry that still enslaves 45 million individuals around the world today.
– Grace Kim