The Not For Sale Story

Nearly everything we consume — from clothing, to the batteries in our cell phones, to the fish we eat — has forced labor and exploitation hidden somewhere inside its production. Many of us, including the businesses who make the products we buy, have no idea when or where the exploitation occurs.

And it’s growing every single day.

About 45.8 million people today are living in slave-like conditions. That’s bigger than the population of California, Canada, or Argentina.

Nearly every country on earth is affected, including the United States.

And more than $150 billion in profits are generated annually by businesses employing slavery and exploitation.

In 2000, David Batstone discovered that there was human trafficking ring at a neighborhood restaurant, and began writing a book about human trafficking, called Not For Sale. As he researched more about the prevalence of trafficking, he met a woman named Kru Nam. Kru Nam lived in northern Thailand, and was rescuing street children from exploitation, including labor and sex trafficking. Kru Nam and the children were living in an empty field in northern Thailand, begging for food simply to subside, and without the means to build a house. David Batstone and co-founder Mark Wexler started Not For Sale to simply raise enough funding to build a house for the rescued children in Thailand — and ended up as a village for 88 children. Not For Sale took this intention to other countries, including Peru and Romania, and built shelters, using anti-trafficking awareness campaigns to raise money.

About five years into this effort, Not For Sale was a successful non-profit. But something was missing — when we opened our heart, we had shut off our brains. The strength of our organization was in building scalable enterprises using technology, capital, and talent. Why was it that when we focused on social good, we didn’t rely on those strengths — and instead focused only on non-sustainable, non-recurring donations?  

So Not For Sale changed the model. Instead of continuing to operate as a traditional charity, we developed a methodology to create economic opportunities in vulnerable communities. Not For Sale builds viable, successful companies and bakes into the very DNA of the company our Not For Sale values throughout the whole process — from the sourcing of the goods, to the manufacturing of product, to the way it is sold — and returns the profits back to the community.

We create Enterprises, born out of a Mission.


Together with our partners, we are creating a future without human trafficking and exploitation in the following ways:

Preventing Exploitation

Our collaboration helps to prevent exploitation and forced labor through impact sourcing practices, ensuring our farmers receive fair wages, access to resources, and protection of their rights.

Generating Awareness

Together with our companies, we raise awareness around the devastating modern realities of exploitation and forced labor so consumers can choose to support and demand dignified supply chains. Change happens when we work together.

Supporting Individuals

Each company commits a portion of their revenue to support Not For Sale​ in providing shelter, education, healthcare, legal services, and job training for victims of exploitation around the world. Our projects support people in the United States, Thailand, the Netherlands, Vietnam, Romania, Peru, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.


The Not For Sale Impact:

  • Since 2007, Not For Sale has supported nearly 20,000 survivors and at-risk individuals.
  • Not For Sale has 8 direct service projects in 9 countries: the United States, Thailand, Vietnam, Netherlands, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Romania, and Peru.
  • In 2016, Not For Sale supported 1,313 survivors and at-risk individuals from over 40 countries worldwide.
  • In 2016, Not For Sale provided indirect assistance to over 1,997 family and community members of exploited individuals.
  • Not For Sale has created, or partners with, companies including REBBL, Dignita, Square Organics, Z Shoes, ghd, Spence Diamonds, AllSaints, Alex + Ani, Boll and Branch, and others. 
  • Not For Sale direct services include:
    • Long-term housing
    • Education
    • Extensive medical care
    • Legal services
    • Counseling and therapy
    • Job readiness and training programs
  • The average age of a Not For Sale direct service project recipient is 17 years old.

We are committed to these core statements:

  1. Success is more than numbers
    One former sex-worker in Amsterdam who becomes a chef is success. The first stateless graduate in Thailand’s history is success. And the millions of families who will never be sucked into slavery because of the wall we build together is bigger than any number we could report.
  2. To lead, we prove it ourselves
    We believe business can change the tide against modern slavery because we’ve proven it with our own sweat, tears, and capital. We test our ideas, and help others do what works.
  3. Everything we do must be built to grow
    Our process is simple. 1) Test new ideas. 2) Kick the tires so we know the successful ideas can grow. 3) Scale what works so that more people can be served and protected.
  4. Never exploit the exploited
    Everyone deserves to live with dignity. Everyone we serve has a choice in how they want to participate.
  5. No one is rubbish, No one is for sale
    We believe every person has value — and that value can neither be bought nor sold. We believe people are not for sale.
  6. Everyone can become better
    We believe humans have no ceiling. Each of us has the potential to become better than what we were yesterday. We have the minds to learn new skills and beliefs. All of us have the potential to be great.
  7. We go further together
    No great mission was completed alone. As this network grows, so does the impact we can make together. Invite others to bring their skills, whatever they are, to move this mission forward.
  8. Forced labor is a tool we must replace
    We believe forced labor is a tool — a method of production — that can be replaced in businesses and supply chains. Any tool can be replaced, and we can replace slavery.
  9. There’s always ways to get better
    There is no one “right” way to accomplish a mission. But there are always ways to improve our results through new actions and ways of doing things. We can always improve.


“Tweet everyone you know about this book. Let’s make slavery history!” — Jack Dorsey, co-founder of Twitter and CEO of Square

“David Batstone is a heroic character.” —Bono

“This is one of those books that makes you want TO DO SOMETHING.” – Mark Cole