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David Batsone of Not For Sale gave a sermon on June 14, 2009. I found it to be one of the more inspiring sermons I have heard. I want to be faithful and take small steps as David encouraged us to do and see where God leads. Following are my notes from the sermon.
Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. 1 Peter 4:10
We don’t have to obsess about “What will we do with our lives?” God is always bringing us opportunities. It’s just about how we respond. God honors small steps.
14 But you, O God, do see trouble and grief; you consider it to take it in hand. The victim commits himself to you; you are the helper of the fatherless.
15 Break the arm of the wicked and evil man; call him to account for his wickedness that would not be found out.
16 The LORD is King for ever and ever; the nations will perish from his land.
17 You hear, O LORD, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry,
18 defending the fatherless and the oppressed, in order that man, who is of the earth, may terrify no more.
Vocation – where does our passions and skills meet the needs of the world? Jesus said “restore sight to the blind” because we lost sight of who we are.
Prayer is key to our life. Reading Scripture to prepare ourselves.
“But there are so many choices.” God is not bringing you those choices. God already has a plan.
Veronica’s House in Peru. Victoria came to Not For Sale asking for help but they didn’t have a shelter ready yet and asked her to check in with them every two days. Victoria was strangled to death by a john. The house was named after her to remind them about their purpose.
We follow a living God that has given us (gifts) … . And we are open servants. David Batsone, Not For Sale
Mark Wexler led the Week 4 Bible Study, the final one. He is the Director of Education & Co-founder of Not For Sale.
Mark Wexler’s presentation was titled on Mapping Modern-Day Slavery, Mapping High Probability Locations. Two hundred years ago when slavery was outlawed slavery did not disappear, it just moved from the open to the crevices. Modern day slavery exists in places where “good people” don’t look, such as massage parlors in San Francisco.
Advertisements for massage parlors which maybe you and I don’t look at is where you will find slaves. Also comments on message boards for johns provide clues. You can buy people on Craigslist. You can use Yelp to “find places to exploit women and children.” This is where investigators look to find slaves. Things they look for are like:
Johns saying “She does not seem to want to be there.”
Advertising phrases such as “Rotating world-wide models.”
When Not For Sale contacts Yelp about reviews from johns those reviews are pulled. But before they are pulled Not For Sale records them so they can be used by law enforcement. Craigslist has not been as cooperative and the only thing they have done is renamed their erotic services to adult services.
Not For Sale three years ago presented books and books of this information to the D.A. who was quite impressed. The D.A. then took it to the police who responded they weren’t prepared to deal with this information (in other words they didn’t care). Not For Sale then started working with the FBI, immigration, IRS.
Now Not For Sale is using Google groups, Google maps, Google docs to organize and build up this information. Investigators are gathering information throughout the U.S. and Canada. Adult book stores, cantinas/bars, massage parlors, even truck stops is where investigators look.
Dennis, a Not For Sale investigator, told a story from Houston. Truck stops have lot lizards, another term for prostitutes. A van will pull up at a truck stop with two to four girls and advertise on the CB that they have girls for sale. At one truck stop a trucker agreed to buy one girl. But when he received the girl and noticed she was fourteen he called 911 and that girl and her cousin were rescued by police.
In another case a man left a brothel and asked a girl on the way out “How do you like Houston?”
The sad but unavoidable fact is that johns are a very good source of information for investigators and frontline investigators sometimes have to do things they don’t want to do. I am assuming they don’t actually complete any transactions.
To attack the demand side johns who are arrested for a first offense are asked to take a course instead of pay a fine and/or go to jail. In that course they learn about how many prostitutes are children and how many are slaves. The percentages of these arrested johns who stop visiting prostitutes is something like 70% to 80%.
Lake Volta, Ghana, largest man made lake is a major site for child slavery. Fishermen’s nets are often tangled in the trees that were flooded when the lake was created. Children with weights on their limbs are used to free the nets. Fishermen don’t know it’s illegal to hold children as slaves. Investigators from the first Not For Sale Academy are starting to make a difference, having already rescued five children!
Ji Seon, my wife, asked what makes Not For Sale distinctive from all the other abolitionist organizations. Mark replied Not For Sale is distinctive because it’s about putting the lens on average citizens, making them investigators in our own backyards or encouraging them to use their gifts to combat slavery, Difference is “seeing a fire versus reporting a fire.”
Provide information about modern slavery to school districts and pre-school districts. Not For Sale has the information but not the resources for distributing it.
Promote Free2Play with your children’s sports teams. Mark told the story how one team wore Free2Play badges. When the players of the opposing team asked what it was about they would say “27 million people are enslaved and half are children. We’re playing for them.”
Kique Bazan from Peru led the Week 3 Bible Study. He is the Director of International Projects & Co-founder of Not For Sale.
Not For Sale has five international projects. Their goal is to teach skills and provide a moral framework.
It takes typically three years to transition from slavery. A key part of the transition is convincing the person he/she does not deserve to be a slave. After three years they try to put them in vocational programs with job placement – learning while working.
One transition program was taking kids surfing. It takes about six weeks to master surfing. These kids started receiving compliments and began feeling good about themselves. For this reason the transition happened much faster and the kids wanted to clean up, go to school, etc.
Based on this success, they are trying sports models to accelerate the transition, for example, soccer team in Ghana, roller blade team in Oakland.
In Ghana the fishermen’s nets get caught at the bottom of the lake. The fishermen use child slaves to free the nets. They tie weights to these children who can’t swim and throw them in. They only pull them out after the net is free and sometimes the kids come up drowned. Not For Sale is trying to change both the culture of acceptance of slavery and the economics so that the need for these children is gone.
The majority of female sex slaves in India are Nepalese. Not For Sale uses former sex slaves to help identify at the border which women are being trafficked to India.
SlaveryMap.org lists past cases because if they list current cases they might jeopardize the investigation. What is strange is why aren’t there any cases of North Korean refugees becoming slaves. Who has that info? I asked Kique about this and he said because there are no Not For Sale investigators working in that area.
Kique told a story about why Not For Sale is very careful about revealing identities. Once Dr. Phil had on his program two American women who had been forced into prostitution. These women became sex slaves while teenagers and after many years they finally escaped and one of them was doing work to help other former sex slaves. Many years later they went on Dr. Phil to help publicize this issue. Without their knowledge or consent near the end of the program Dr. Phil had their former pimp call them. The women broke down crying uncontrollably and it was an incredibly traumatic event for them. I have no idea what Dr. Phil was thinking. I wish I could find more information about this episode on the internet
Kique presented three ways we can help.
Open source activism. Go to action page to find out what you can do.
David Batstone led the Week 2 Bible Study. He is a professor at the University of San Francisco. He started Not For Sale 30 months ago.
God frees all people, whether it be chains or egotism or materialism. We as Christians are redemption people. God said “Let my people go” and “Loose the chains” and “Restore sight to the blind.”
13th amendment of the U.S. constitution calls slavery “involuntary servitude.” David encountered slavery at one of his favorite restaurants in Berkeley, Pasand Madras, which he learned about in the San Francisco Chronicle. He learned that this restaurant was the center of a trafficking ring of young teenage boys and girls from India.
David traveled the world, investigated slavery and then created Not For Sale to “reabolish” slavery. Not For Sale investigates and documents slavery and trafficking all around the world. Slavery is too “ordinary” and Not For Sale want to makes it “extraordinary.”
Not For Sale is not a Christian organization. Instead Not For Sale is first an abolitionist organization. Being a secular organization allows him to work with the government, speak at universities, speak at Google. And when someone asks why David does it he says because of his faith in Jesus Christ.
David was an investigative journalist who won national awards. He wanted to take his talents to investigate slavery. He also tasked his students in his class, Justice 101, to do it instead of writing boring essays. The students went to social workers, police, immigration workers, etc.
Not For Sale’s bar for what is slavery is that “you can walk away.” Not For Sale charts 50 garment factories and 175 massage parlors/brothels in the Bay Area. Not For Sale has 40 similar operations all around the U.S. SlaveryMap.org is their public documentation of what they have learned. Not For Sale also monitors ads and even chat rooms/forums where people talk about their experiences with prostitutes, looking for under age or scared prostitutes. “Open source activism” is bringing these operations around the world and opening up the platform to allow others to enhance it.