How Batstone & Not for Sale campaign against slavery make their ‘invisible’ abolition network visible

Our guest this week is scholar, educator and activist David Batstone, who is one of the world’s leading abolitionists. Of course, we all condemn slavery. Thanks to Batstone’s Not for Sale campaign, we’re also becoming more aware that slavery is a crime committed in many American towns and cities right now. We all agree that we need to investigate and end networks of human trafficking.

So, what else do we need to say—except maybe: buy their guidebook, “Not for Sale: The Return of the Global Slave Trade—and How We Can Fight It,” from Amazon now?

Well, there’s actually a lot more to say about this remarkable scholar-activist and his worldwide network of thousands of well-trained, modern-day abolitionists! That’s especially true because most of our readers are active in religious and community life. Many preachers, teachers, bloggers, writers, activists, students and organizers of small groups regularly read our articles. The most frequent question we get from readers is: Where are signs of hope? Who has good ideas for motivating people?

Batstone’s ‘invisible’ (and hugely visible) Not for Sale movement

David Batstone and Not for Sale are accomplishing remarkable things that are largely invisible through traditional media networks. On Friday, we reported about a 13-city music-and-evangelism tour they are co-hosting across the Western U.S. However, throughout the weekend, we checked Google News, which is the “go to” spot online for fresh news stories—and Not for Sale’s Freedom Tour was invisible. No one in traditional news media covered the launch.

But this truly is big news! Why? Because this is, indeed, big news to lots of people. Most of us simply don’t know where to look to see this huge community of interest. So, here are some of the signs of the strong interest in this movement among people—mostly young people—who know where to look:

Making the Freedom Tour Visible as a Major Anti-Slavery Movement

The concert tour is co-sponsored by Not for Sale (17,000 Facebook fans) and Air 1 Radio (nearly 150,000 Facebook fans). And what is Air 1 Radio? It’s a contemporary Christian radio network that has decided to help Batstone’s group promote the abolition campaign through young Christian communities in these 13 mostly Southwest and Western cities. Next, you may wonder: So, how big is this Air 1? You may never have heard of the radio network until today. Well, the top item on Air 1’s Facebook page as the concert tour launched was a new video by evangelical musician Brandon Heath. To clarify: Heath is not on the free Freedom Tour kicking off this week, but his music is very much in keeping with the overall theme of this campaign. As of Thursday, this music video (below) was watched by 2.4 million people!

Are you beginning to see the importance and the massive scale of this “invisible” community? This kind of far-reaching network of networks is the sort of activism Batstone is expanding all around the planet—teaching all of us the power of faith to change lives and change the world, even in this era of great skepticism about the ability of religion. So, take heart today! This is good news! In a moment, we’ll invite you to enjoy Brandon Heath’s inspiring video—and we’ll share some of the lyrics—but first:

Finding the Important Web Links into
the Batstone and Not for Sale Network

Like Alice in Wonderland, newcomers need help finding the important and useful doorways into this far-flung and largely “invisible” network spreading out from the hub of work led by David Batstone and the Not For Sale anti-slavery campaign.

The Not for Sale Academy website for training:

The NFS Academy website is your goal if you want to take part in the two-tiered training programs offered by Not for Sale. The homepage is regularly updated with current news about training. One level of training currently requires travel to the Bay Area of California and a two-week commitment to be fully certified by Not for Sale as an investigator who can properly document new cases of slavery. Another level of training, called a “backyard” course, is a several-day orientation to the organization’s work. A volunteer who takes a “backyard” course can start working more effectively on Not for Sale projects. These quick courses move around the U.S. The website’s FAQ page answers a lot of basic questions about the training. The Calendar page lists upcoming quick courses.

See the size and scope of slavery in the U.S. on the Slavery Map:

In 2 years online, the Slavery Map has collected more than 1,200 reports of slavery in North America. This very active website serves a vital need: Making Americans aware of the tragic frequency of slavery within the U.S. The moment visitors begin exploring this interactive map, the movement’s central point is made loud and clear: Everyone should be vigilant for signs that these crimes are an ongoing problem wherever we happen to live. The site is designed for young web users. The “How To” link on the homepage starts a 4-minute video that quickly and clearly explains the site’s essential tools to newcomers. Obviously, not every piece of information on the website is accurate or up to date. The site grows much like the Wikipedia encyclopedia as volunteers and editors add and revise one report after another. But the young crop of volunteers “gets” that this is the way important information is aggregated today.

The Mother Ship of Not for Sale

The group’s main web hub is The site is a patchwork quilt of news items, action alerts, calendar items, supplies for volunteers. Like all of the other Not for Sale sites, the web hub is a work in progress. While reporting on the movement over the past couple of weeks, the site has been slow-to-load or unavailable a few times. (Once, we got a message that promised: “We’re working our tails off to get it back up and running. Thanks for your patience!”) So, like everything else Not for Sale does, even the Mother Ship website is a work in progress. Occasionally, areas in the site are sorely needing updates. Overall, though, the site is extremely effective at mobilizing volunteers. Young web users “get it” that the website is not perfect 100 percent of the time—and they don’t mind at all. Most of the time, when it’s working well, this website gets and gives tons of news updates.

Brandon Heath Video, ‘Give Me Your Eyes,’ viewed by 2.4 million & counting

(NOTE: If your version of this story does not display a video screen here, then you can use this direct link to the YouTube posting of Brandon Heath’s video.)

Curious about the lyrics of the chorus? Here they are …

Give me your eyes for just one second
Give me your eyes so I can see
Everything that I keep missing
Give me your love for humanity
Give me your arms for the broken hearted
The ones that are far beyond my reach
Give me your heart for the ones forgotten
Give me your eyes so I can see.

You can purchase copies of, “Not for Sale: The Return of the Global Slave Trade—and How We Can Fight It” from Amazon now.

We want our international conversation to continue

Conversation is far better than the dangerous shouting matches we’ve been witnessing in our global culture recently. So, please, email us at [email protected] and tell us what you think of our stories—and, please tell a friend to start reading along with you!

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