Saturday, October 18, 2008

Open Source Activism

One of the key principles that Not For Sale embeds in nearly everything we do is open source activism. It means that our overriding goal is to equip a movement of backyard abolitionists, empowering individuals to fight human trafficking and slavery in their own locale. The backyard abolitionist contributes his or her unique gifts and passions to make a difference. You should not aspire to become William Wilberforce or Sojourner Truth, but to be yourself.

I was pleased to watch Justin Dillon promote our concept in his new film, Call & Response. When Justin and I went on our 60-city tour of US cities in the Fall of 2007, we realized that our movement would gain dynamism when we handed over tools and got out of the way! Fighting slavery requires local creativity and initiative, not a centralized structure of "experts" who do all the abolitionist work.

One practical outgrowth of this principle, we at Not For Sale began meeting extraordinary leaders wherever we went. We decided to create a network of state directors, an effort to empower local action and decentralize our relationships. The network has taken off, and it grows so quickly it's a challenge for us to update our webpage with new bios and contact details for our Webpage!!! But keep in touch with the site and discover a new wave of local leaders who can help you with your backyard abolitionist activities.

David Batstone


Julie said...

Fighting slavery requires local creativity and initiative, not a centralized structure of "experts" who do all the abolitionist work.

This is the absolute key to the success of ending this madness. I just was the film "call and response" and have got to say that a cord this strong has never been struck in my heart. i am on board with this, fully and completely.

s.c said...

In the spirit of open source, I would like to share some preliminary research results, in regards to the global consensus for the abolition of human trafficking.

** Julia Ormond, whose experiences include serving as Goodwill Ambassador against Slavery and Human Trafficking to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), she has founded the organization, the Alliance to Stop Slavery and End Trafficking (ASSET).

I mention this, considering that ASSET might be regarded as a "sister organization" to the Not For Sale Campaign. It would appear that neither NFS nor ASSET is alone, in this cause.

** Julia Ormond has spoken to the US congress, previously, in regards to Human Trafficking. There is a transcript available of her speech. As I recall, it makes for some good reading material (I say this understanding that we are not so short on reading material, already, in this cause).

I'm in the progress of (hopefully) recovering a reference to speech. I remember having found the item, during some previous online research. It looks like the ODC has reorganized their web-site, since then.

The Library of Congress' Thomas service may have a reference to it, available. I'll have to look there, next.

** The UN ODC also published a counter-trafficking toolkit in something of a formal design. It is available: Online Edition - Toolkit to Combat Trafficking in Persons.

The UNODC has made the abolition of human trafficking to be a focus area for its overall work, viz a viz: UN ODC and Human Trafficking -- like some more of organizational muscle, to the cause.

May I say, the ODC's complimentary work, in regards to the prevention of corruption within world law enforcement agencies, it may be no less crucial, to the cause. To ensure fair and just investigation and prosecution of traffickers, without any unfortunate "leaks" coming up between members/associates of law enforcement agencies, and to the said offenders, it must take some broad work.

**) WGBH's Frontline has produced a documentary, distinctly highlighting particular qualities about the offenses of human trafficking. One might say that it could serves as a sort of case study, and that it is one truly remarkable work of investigative journalism. Perhaps their web site about the program would explain the details of, in far better terms than I myself may.

(May I make note of it, though: If one would watch the film, one would notice the leak that happened from one police officer in Turkey, there thwarting an attempted sting operation. One might also notice the worse-than-lukewarm response of the judge, at the supposed closure of the matter. Considering this, I suppose that it would not be citizen action alone that could serve to resolve such issues, ultimately. Yet, without citizen action -- and some citizen pressure -- would anything else be done about it?)

(Secondly, the film serves to illustrate a "trafficking route" from Ukraine to Turkey. Investigators could perhaps find this pertinent, if not being aware of it already)

Lastly, may I here inquire, as it seems that it may be pertinent, at this point: Might NFS have any plans in the works, for developing an NFS camnpaign wiki, online?

To illustrate, MediaWiki is free and open source software, and is widely used in the implementation of the wiki application model.

Perhaps it could be of help, to have an NFS camnpaign wiki available, as regarding matters of networking and awareness, in this our mutual cause?

Heck, I'd even volunteer to lend what time that I may, to the tech/administrative and editorial sides of it. I mean, if I'm going to propose it, I might as well make myself available to take some responsibility about it, no? :)

Of course, the offer is made in a kind spirit of "take it or leave it, your call, no worries".

Pardon my ebullience, but I am very happy to see that the Not For Sale Campaign exists, and is active in the cause.

In fact, I have only today discovered that the organization exists. It was courtesy of a calendar entry about an event that is happening at a relatively nearby club, this month -- what a thing!

Please pardon, then, my desire to retain some level of anonymity, here. I think it is necessary for the security of my person, as well as for the security of any prospective role that I might come to play, at any distance, as a participant in the cause. It is a cause I have been familiar with, for some years -- basically, since after I saw that Frontline documentary, then (finding a distinct personal motivation about it) then began some research online.

(There are some personal motives I can find, to be involved in this cause, I will not deny. I hope that that may be enough to say of it. I mention it, in case that my level of motivation to the cause could seem anyhow "unusual". )

In forum, available to any reply,

-- Sean

Secondary references:

[1] IMDb profile page about Julia Ormond's roles in film and the small screen