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.

Two Tracks
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).
Practical Tools
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.

Citizen Know-How
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


mohsen f.
mohsen f.7 years ago

The problem is that we see bad things every morning, noon and night but we just pretend we've not see anything.

Thank you David Batstone. You taught us a lesson.

Chavonne Harvey
Chavonne H7 years ago

great to see someone doing something about this.

Yvette T.
Past Member 7 years ago

Bravo!!! I think it is time for reprogramming. Globally. Compassion, non-interference, veg diet is the way.

Lin Moy
Lin M7 years ago

This should never happen in this day and age. What makes some people discard people so easily as to sell them to be used up?? I just don't understand these people at all. They wouldn't want it to happen in their families now would they??

Elizabeth M.
Elizabeth M7 years ago

Thanks for this Michelle. This is such a good thing that is being done in training students at the Not For Sale Abolitionist Academy and the Back Yard Academy. The sex-slavery market is bigger than most people are aware of in the US and Canada...we often think it only happens abroad. Kudos for all your work!

Brenda Towers
Brenda Towers7 years ago

An excellent idea.

Lisa Tye
Lisa Tye7 years ago

interesting article...eye opening

Nathan B.
Nathan B.7 years ago

@Brian M.

The Not For Sale Abolitionist Academy does not do raids or physically free victims of human trafficking. We work closely with local law enforcement agencies and aftercare organizations. Academy students are instructed in how to build a case in a safe way, and how to work with local agencies to present the case and ensure that those liberated receive social, psychological, and other aftercare services. Read the full story about the Not For Sale Academy here:
@Tom Y.: Check out It's one of our programs designed to stop forced and child labor before it starts. Companies are rated for their labor policies and assigned a letter grade. We have also recently released an iPhone app that will eventually allow barcode scanning to bring up a product's grade immediately. Check it out at

Thanks for all the comments, everyone!

Nathan Beeghly
Manager of Social Media, Not For Sale

Dan B.
Dan Brook7 years ago

very important work that we should all support

Sue Matheson
Sue Matheson7 years ago

good story.