Citizen Army Trains To Fight Human Trafficking
Not For Sale, a San Francisco-based non-profit, is raising a “citizen army” against human trafficking and forced labor. By offering abolitionist classes, NFS teaches ordinary citizens about international and national trafficking issues and how to work with law enforcement to correct them. Students in the NFS Academy learn from experts in law enforcement, healthcare, activism and journalism.
NFS co-founder David Batstone began the classes after he found out his family’s favorite restaurant was caught bringing Indian workers to the U.S. to wash dishes and work in the sex industry.
“I didn’t have the lens to realize that something was wrong. If you don’t know what you are looking at you will let it pass by,” Batstone said in a Trafficking in Persons Press press release.
NFS offers the Investigator Academy in San Francisco or the Backyard Academy at sessions across the country. Backyard Academies are intense 3-day sessions held across the U.S. with five possible tracks: Strategic Investigation, Just-Market Supply Chains, Innovative Aftercare, Effective Healthcare, and Proactive Faith Communities.
The Investigator Academy is a 2-week session broken into two parts: the first week is training in investigation (how to identify, document, map and work with the anti-trafficking agencies) and the second week is training in aftercare for victims (how to conduct case management, direct advocacy, comprehensive data reporting, advocate for and attain systematic changes).
Participants in the NFS Academy learn to use SlaveryMap, an online database for to track and report trafficking and slavery activity. There have been 1308 reports of slavery made on the website since June of 2008. The interactive map is for tracking documented cases of slavery, not for reporting. The website has information about how to report suspected cases of slavery.
Graduate abolitionists also can also travel with NFS to research and document cases of slavery and trafficking internationally. Upcoming destinations include Uganda, Peru and Thailand.
Graduates of the NFS Academy are prepared to watch for and report instances of human trafficking. They are also taught about the issue, both in the U.S. and abroad, so they can take the information to their families, friends, coworkers and places of worship. This system multiplies NFS’ reach and puts the responsibility to fight human trafficking on everyone.
Photo by USAJFKSWCS on Flickr