Not For Sale in the Netherlands tells the story of how Not For Sale is using social enterprise to create new futures for those who have fallen victim to exploitation.
The vision for NFS in the Netherlands was birthed in September 2011 at the Montara Circle Amsterdam. At this event, global leaders in business, technology, and social service gathered together to come up with an innovative way to address sex trafficking of women and girls from Eastern Europe to Western Europe.
Out of this, came HOME enterprise. HOME is the first business in Amsterdam's red light district to regularly provide women working in prostitution with nutritious meals. Over seventy-five women from approximately twenty countries have benefited from the meals provided by HOME. Through regular contact with the individual women in prostitution, Not For Sale can better understand the circumstances of vulnerable women, specifically from Eastern Europe, and develop holistic strategies that will both prevent and combat trafficking and exploitation in the sex trade.
This past spring, HOME invited the first women begin an internship in the kitchen. Despite having been trafficked into forced prostitution, these individual women are now devloping skills that will enable them to pursue their own futures.
In March of this year Not For Sale partnered with an ethical manufacturing company in Delhi to bring dignified jobs to at-risk women in the region. Through business generated by Not For Sale, 17 new members of staff were brought on, 6 of whom were women coming directly from local shelters for exploited women.
Employees are trained in production and offered opportunities to develop their life skills in English Language and Personal Finance. This summer, the first group of trainees will move out of the NGO shelters and will begin building their own independent lives. To provide continued support to workers, Not For Sale has assisted the company to employ an experienced Social Coordinator, who will be responsible for leading training and monitoring well-being of employees in the long term.
In 2012, the factory expects to employ up to 80 new workers, and in the next year aims to provide training and work to 100 women from vulnerable and exploited backgrounds.
In the spring of 2012, Not For Sale completed the second phase of construction at the farm in Romania, bringing jobs and housing to survivors of trafficking. The roof was completed on a building expected to house 50 survivors and at-risk community members while four greenhouses are growing onions, garlic, spinach and strawberries. Five survivors of exploitation are currently working on the farm, survivors like Alex who grew up in an orphanage in Romania and sold to a trafficker as a child. For years, he was forced to beg on streets across Europe, abused, and neglected. For the first time in his life, Alex has a family and a dignified job. By earning his own income, Alex is regaining his sense of self worth and is now free to create his own future.
Funded by Google.org, the expansion of the NFS Romania farm intends to generate income to NFS Romania rehabilitation programs and provide sustainable jobs 20 survivors of trafficking and by the end of 2012.
Today Not For Sale Peru launched artisan trainings for 130 women in 7 native communities in the Madre de Dios region of Peru. Not For Sale's Peru coordinator, Ricardo, reports that this training represents the first phase in a long-term engagement with 7 communities and affecting over 360 families in the region.
Today was the official party to celebrate the launch of Not For Sale partner's new factory in Delhi. Current employees welcomed new staff, women from trafficked and exploited backgrounds into their new workplace, where they are to receive Not For Sale job training and dignified employment. Our partners in India have worked tirelessly the past weeks and months to get the factory open so today we celebrated together over video call with Chai and Sweets as is customary in India! Congratulations!
Today, two women who were exploited through human trafficking joined Not For Sale Amsterdam in the HOME kitchen for some basic skills training. The ladies took part in making soup alongside the HOME chef. According to Toos Heemskerk, NFS Amsterdam Director, "Our idea of providing training to women has been in development for so long. Today it feels like our dream became a reality." First reports have already come back from the women who took part, and they are very excited to continue their training next week!
Josefina was trafficked following the death of her husband. The eldest of her daughters was also trafficked and the second eldest was on the brink of following suit. She mentioned how initially she was eager not to abandon her traffickers, she was frightened for her future and well-being. However, after Not For Sale managed to provide safe living conditions and food, Josefina began to accept the difficult situation leaving would place her children in. Today she is employed in a sustainable industry in the region and her daughters are enrolled in formal education.