I am, because you are

I am, because you are

Written by Mark Wexler

15 years ago I sat on a balcony overlooking the Indian Ocean in Durban, South Africa. I was with my former professor and future co-founder of Not For Sale, David Batstone. Stiff drink in hand, we discussed this insane thing called human trafficking.

It was during this conversation that we decided to start Not For Sale.

For the previous half year I had worked with a friend, Tom Hewitt, assisting his non-profit organization that uses sport to support at-risk and exploited youth. Tom later became Not For Sale’s Southern Africa Director, helping drive our programming in both South Africa and Mozambique. 

One of the many lasting things that stayed with me from my time in Southern African was an ethic called ubuntu. 

Quite literally my humanity is tied to yours, and your humanity is tied to mine. And our humanity is tied to the people that Not For Sale serves on a daily basis.

Co-Founder of Not For Sale – Mark Wexler

A rough translation of ubuntu’s meaning is: “I am because you are.” 

Another way to think of ubuntu, is that everything I do has an effect on you and your well being, and everything you do has an effect on me and my well being. Sure, we might be different, but undoubtedly we are interconnected. And importantly that is what animates our humanity. Our connectedness is actually what makes us…. us. 

Today, for the first time ever, on a global scale we are facing down a foe, COVID-19, that illuminates these (for many of us) previously invisible ties of ubuntu. Quite literally my humanity is tied to yours, and your humanity is tied to mine. And our humanity is tied to the people that Not For Sale serves on a daily basis.

Over the last few days we have talked with many of Not For Sale’s project leaders around the world. COVID-19 is having a real effect on people we serve.

We wanted to briefly share with you some of the immediately known effects on our work:

UGANDA: Last year Not For Sale supported 1,512 children refugees gain access to education in Uganda. We learned Friday that schools have been ordered closed for a month as a precaution. This will have a massive ripple effect on our kids. For most of them the food they receive at our school is the only meal they eat on any given day. We’re working on a way to safely deliver meals throughout the refugee camp.

NETHERLANDS: Our Dignita restaurants in Amsterdam have been ordered closed indefinitely. This has meant that our culinary training program for survivors, which supported 164 people last year, is working to set up an online video training course.

VIETNAM: Our partners are seeing an uptick in human traffickers preying on people most effected by COVID-19. This is in large part due to business closures and job losses which means that families are unable to provide for their children. It means that teenage girls are at higher risk of early marriage. But even through all this, just yesterday, our team rescued a 23 year old woman that was trafficked into China 6 months ago. (She remains in 2 week quarantine.) 

Over the duration of this crisis, we will be sharing with you updates on the effect COVID-19 is having on our team, friends, partners, and the people that we serve. Later this week we will share with you an interview with co-founder, David Batstone. 

More than ever we are committed to helping people that need support. Our resolve has not wavered, it is only strengthened by what we are up against with COVID-19.

In the spirit of ubuntu, acknowledging our interconnectedness, we will also be coming to you, our Not For Sale family, as specific needs arise in our community of survivors and at-risk people to appeal for your help as well. 

In Solidarity, Mark Wexler

Co-Founder & CEO, Not For Sale

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Several thousand people are estimated to be subjected to trafficking within Peru, including forced labor in mining, logging, and agriculture. Many of these people come from impoverished regions of the Amazon.   Working to help these survivors, Not For Sale...

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South Africa

Country Project SOUTH AFRICA South Africa's Story Not For Sale South Africa highlights the plight of street children in Durban, South Africa. We empower ex-street children and children at risk of street connectedness through surfing and mentorship. Our children’s home...

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Rebbl With A Cause

Rebbl With A Cause

Written by Not For Sale

Several thousand people are estimated to be subjected to trafficking within Peru, including forced labor in mining, logging, and agriculture. Many of these people come from impoverished regions of the Amazon.  

Working to help these survivors, Not For Sale collaborated with notable abolitionists to support a shelter for survivors and at-risk youth in Peru.

After a few years, Not For Sale co-founders, Dave Batstone and Mark Wexler, knew they could build thousands of shelters and still not address the roots of the problem.

So, they teamed up with business leaders, entrepreneurs, investors, and change-makers to create a solution to the problem. Thus was born REBBL — a beverage company that would source its ingredients in an ethical way, making change for the communities that grew the roots, berries, bark, and leaves that go into every drink.

Watch now for the story of how REBBL was created, the change its made with Not For Sale in the Amazon rainforest, and how business can be a force for good.

There’s a monumental role that business can play as a force for good.

Co-Founder of Not For Sale – David Batstone

A short film on Rebbl’s origin story.  Narrated by Ruby Rose.

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Rebbl With A Cause

Several thousand people are estimated to be subjected to trafficking within Peru, including forced labor in mining, logging, and agriculture. Many of these people come from impoverished regions of the Amazon.   Working to help these survivors, Not For Sale...

read more

South Africa

Country Project SOUTH AFRICA South Africa's Story Not For Sale South Africa highlights the plight of street children in Durban, South Africa. We empower ex-street children and children at risk of street connectedness through surfing and mentorship. Our children’s home...

read more

South Africa

South Africa

Country Project

SOUTH AFRICA

South Africa’s Story

Not For Sale South Africa highlights the plight of street children in Durban, South Africa. We empower ex-street children and children at risk of street connectedness through surfing and mentorship.

Our children’s home is a safe space in which children can live safely and learn life skills to eventually reintegrate into society. We partner with the organization, “Surfers Not Street Children,” that have been working on the rights of street children in South Africa for over 25 years.

OUR MISSION

1. To identify and empower street children in Durban and beyond to be able to leave the street life and reintegrate back into society successfully.

2. To ensure that the children are developed in order to be independent and sustainable in their adult lives.

3. To identify children at risk of becoming street children or at risk of street-involvement and to divert them, offering them new hope.

4. To change the way that society perceives and treats street children (advocacy.)

Uganda

Uganda

Country Project

UGANDA

Uganda’s Story

Not For Sale Uganda partners with CIYOTA, a non-profit established by refugee youth, to provide education and housing for nearly 500 children and young adults near the Kyangwali refugee camp in Uganda.

Uganda is a source, transit, and destination country for trafficking for individuals from Uganda and the neighboring country of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Girls and boys are forced into prostitution, and individuals from Uganda’s remote and underdeveloped regions are particularly vulnerable to domestic servitude, sexual exploitation, and forced begging. In the refugee camp of Kyangwali, Uganda, there are approximately 40,000 Congolese refugees that have fled civil war, ethnic cleansing, and related atrocities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Not For Sale Uganda provides housing, educational opportunities, and support to those who have been, and are vulnerable to, trafficking and exploitation.

The Netherlands

The Netherlands

Country Project

THE NETHERLANDS

The Netherlands’ Story

We offer professional culinary training to survivors of human trafficking in Amsterdam. Trainees are taught to prepare soup that is sold to women working in the brothels of the surrounding Red Light District.

During their culinary internships, survivors gain valuable job and life skills that will help them to find dignified work opportunities. After the women graduate from the culinary training, Not For Sale works to place them in jobs or paid internships throughout Amsterdam.

United States

United States

Country Project

UNITED STATES

United States’ Story

Our Reinvent program is designed to prepare disconnected youth (18-24) affected by trafficking, exploitation and related traumas for work in the Bay Area’s booming industries.

The students attended four weeks of work-readiness training and life-skills coaching. After finishing, graduates of the program are placed in paid traineeships within Not For Sale’s network of Bay Area businesses, such as St. Clare coffee shop, and Half Moon Bay Brewing Company.