Not for Sale is a non-profit
organization based out of California. Not
for Sale fights human trafficking and modern-day slavery around the world. Abolitionist, professor, journalist and author David B. Batstone founded
Not for Sale. Not for Sale began when organization president, David Batstone,
discovered that one of his favourite Indian restaurants near his home was using
trafficked women from India to cook meals and perform various tasks around the
restaurant. One of the women was killed in a gas leak, uncovering the
restaurant’s trafficking business. This discovery shocked Batstone and gave him
an all-consuming passion to stop modern-day slavery. He began to travel around
the world to learn more about trafficking and thus began Not for Sale to raise awareness for trafficking around the world. Living in
Chang-Mai, Thailand, Kru Nam was a practicing jewellery designer and artist.
Walking along the river in the region every day, she soon noticed that children
were sat and populated the riverbanks.
to find out more about this fairly sporadic population, these fairly
directionless children, and armed with only her vocation, she would take
canvases to the river. There, Kru Nam sat and simply painted with the children.
What she discovered from the paintings were images that would shape her life,
and unbeknown to her, the lives of thousands of others. What the children were
painting were horrific images, images that no child should ever be exposed to.
She learnt these children were stateless. She learnt that they were being
trafficked into the illicit sex and labour industry. And she learnt that they
were coming from the border shared with Burma. Kru Nam was moved
to found the Volunteers for Children Development Foundation (VCDF) and soon
opened a branch by the border. Stateless children along the border often fall
victim to the difficult situation faced by their parents. Due to their lack of
governmental identification and thus government services, many of the parents
still, to this day, are exploited by traffickers. Their children often face the
same fate, and are forced to beg in this geographical and governmental no-man’s
Using the little
resources she had, Kru Nam managed to finally raise enough money to build
shelters and facilities for the children who so desperately needed them.
However, after paying a contractor all that she had earned, he only built half
the houses, before disappearing, taking with him the money, and leaving Kru Nam
in the precarious situation of having to house these vulnerable children with
minimal capacity. Showing the kind of dedication that has inspired so many, she
built temporary shelters from bamboo. However, soon after they burnt, she was left with nothing, the
children were left with nothing.
After hearing her
story, David gathered his resources, and reached out to those who were willing
to help her. He and his relatively small staff worked endlessly to provide Kru
Nam and the children with housing, medical supplies, education and anything
that could help in the rehabilitation process. What once started as a
make-shift shelter for exploited children has since become four dormitories, a
clinic, basketball court and organic farm. It is here that children have the
opportunity to gain an education, receive healthcare, learn valuable life and
job skills, and perhaps most importantly, receive official identification,
restoring their dignity and sense of worth. Over 500 stateless individuals have
been assisted since 2007.
Through Kru Nam, Not for Sale was able to take
inspiration and create ventures across the globe and through Not for Sale, Kru Nam has been able to
expand her own efforts. It is the sort of mutually beneficial relationship that
has the ability to impact the lives of so many exploited individuals. The
planet does not need more successful people. But it does desperately need
peacemakers, healers, restorers and story tellers. It needs people of moral courage
willing to fight to make the world more habitable and humane.