Going Upstream to Bring Justice: Not For Sale

Stephen Goode has been involved internationally in relief and development work for over 35 years. For the past 6 years he has served on the Board of Not For Sale. We asked him how Not For Sale is responding to the challenge of human trafficking and why they have made business a central part of their strategy.

Much of the activity around ‘business solutions to human trafficking’ has been on the side of restoration and providing jobs for those being rescued from slavery. Why has Not For Sale more recently started focusing on business solutions for the prevention of human trafficking?

Slavery exists today on a scale like no other time in history. The Global Slavery Index reports there are 35.8 million people enslaved today and the International Labor Organization (ILO) estimate that USD 150 Billion is made in illegal profits annually. The vulnerability of at-risk individuals and communities continue as key elements of modern day slavery. Traffickers come in to individuals and villages, promising any and everything and the slavery cycle of exploitation multiplies. Read more

Moving into the Neighbourhood: Up Close and Personal with Freedom Business

Discovering Freedom

For more than 14 years I’ve had the privilege of living out life with women who have been given the choice of freedom.

It seems this freedom business thing does work. It provides hope where there was hopelessness, a choice when there was no choice at all – the chance of a new life that leads to freedom.

A life journeying with women discovering freedom, what can I say? There’s nothing else like it in all the world and, to be honest, I’ve discovered my freedom is tied up with theirs too.

However, there have moments in my life when I’ve realised I’m a bit slow to pick things up.

For a number of years I thought the way to more freedom was growing one business as big as it could get, until I ran a few numbers around in my head.

Sonagacchi, our neighbourhood, potentially home to 10,000 women trapped in prostitution would simply not be transformed by Freeset, and the other amazing freedom businesses in the area, growing as big as they could.

Between us we employ around 3% of the total women there which means there’s a big number to go – around 9,700 at least.

You see, I still believe in a God who wants justice. The one who came to set the oppressed free. I still believe he wants to do this today and that this massive problem is not too big for him. I believe he weeps for the women of our community as he weeps for many communities like ours around the world. I believe he calls those of us claiming to be his followers to be involved in his kind of justice in his world. Read more

Profit, Scale and Transformation: The Freedom Business Alliance

We interviewed Jennifer Roemhildt Tunehag, who is part of the core team for the new Freedom Business Alliance initiative and asked her how the FBA came about and what it is doing.

We are hearing the term Freedom Business being used more and more, what is a ‘Freedom Business’? 

It’s a business that exists to fight human trafficking. There are several types of business that fit into this category:  businesses that create jobs for survivors of exploitation would be the most familiar, but we would also include businesses that hire vulnerable people in order to prevent exploitation, as well as the aggregators who take products from these first two to new markets. A fourth category would be businesses that provide services specifically to and for other freedom businesses (ie., communications, logistics support, etc). Finally, there are businesses who have devoted the profit from their companies to fight trafficking. These are also part of the freedom business ecosystem.

We sometimes call freedom business the ‘backwards business’. In a normal business paradigm, an entrepreneur sees an opportunity to create a product or service that meets a need in the market. By gathering a qualified staff, he sets himself up to make a profit. 

In contrast, a freedom business starts with the group of people it intends to employ. In businesses working to prevent human trafficking and exploitation, those people have been made vulnerable by poverty, lack of education, or other challenging variables. For those in business for restoration, the difficulties are greater.  Their employees have already been victimised, and the resulting trauma creates levels of complexity in life and employment. Read more

Creating Jobs for the Exploited: a Vital Need and a Unique Challenge

Employment and Employability

Human trafficking feeds on economically depressed and unstable communities. In these communities, the general population is desperately searching for employment (often in another city or country) and economic opportunity is seen as dependent upon an outside force. In such a climate, families can be tricked into selling one or more of their children. Desperation for work and transience create a potent mix that leaves people vulnerable to exploitation, particularly young women. The creation of jobs in such vulnerable communities prevents many from entering the trade – whether out of desperation or trickery. BAM enterprises, economic development and other job creation approaches can effectively work in these communities to raise families out of poverty and reduce vulnerability. This is vitally important, however, does not necessarily require an in depth understanding of the complexities of anti-trafficking work.

On the other hand, those who seek to create jobs and provide employment for individuals who have previously been victimized by human trafficking and sexual exploitation must consider unique challenges arising from this situation. Although there are many facets to the development and restoration of these individuals, finding secure employment is a basic need that must be met in that process. There are many challenges associated with creating employment opportunities for these individuals, along with helping employees gain the skills needed to sustain employment. These can be minimized by a keen awareness of needs, resources and the overall restoration journey. Read more

Evaluating Business Ideas for Freedom Business Startups

by Christa Crawford

 

What are the most important questions to ask myself when evaluating a business opportunity?

My background is Business for Freedom – that is using business to bring freedom to people who would otherwise be trapped in trafficking, prostitution, or other forms of exploitation. The traditional model for reaching these people is the charity model, but in recent years there is a movement toward business, including business as mission. As such, much of my audience knows very little about business basics. For them, I would say that the most important questions are:

  • Is this business a good fit for the market?
  • Is this business a good fit for me?
  • Is there someone who can do this business better, and how can we partner together?

Is this business a good fit for the market? While this question may seem basic to business people, to many getting started in business for freedom the first question they ask themselves is “What can we sell?”, where they should really be asking, “What do people want to buy?” We must ensure that we are selling products that have the demand and quality to sell on their own, and not merely as “pity purchases.” Read more

In Business for Freedom: Fighting the Business of the Sex Trade with Business as Mission

It is estimated that between 12 and 27 million people globally are currently caught in human trafficking and exploited for their labor or sexual services. In a report by Dall Oglio to the UN General Assembly in 2004, he stated that 10 billion dollars are exchanged every year in the sex industry. Putting this number in perspective, of the 186 member countries in the International Monetary Fund in 2004; 81 of those members had national GDPs that were less than the amount of money generated by the sex industry that year.

To begin combating the monstrosities represented by these numbers, we must recognize that trafficking is an industry and the sex trade is a business. These are economically driven enterprises.

Trafficking was first defined by the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. Put in the simplest of terms: it is the recruitment, transfer or keeping of humans for the purpose of exploitation. According to the US Department of State report Trafficking in Persons (2007), human trafficking is the world’s third largest criminal enterprise after drugs and weapons. While the exact numbers for these three enterprises are understandably hard to obtain, it is speculated that human trafficking has more recently taken the number two spot over weapons. There is more money to be made in human trafficking, and less chance of being caught or punished. The entire chain of distributors will earn a profit, the product is less capital intensive and the ‘merchandise’ can be sold over and over again. Understanding the sex trade as an economic enterprise means we must intentionally and systematically consider the use of business as a strategy to fight the trade on both a macro and micro level. Read more

Prayer Ideas and Resources for Business People

The Institute of Faith, Work and Economics recently shared 5 practical ways you can turn events in your business day into a conversation with God. We have summarised their ideas and rounded up some ideas and resources of our own. We hope these will spark some idea for busy business people wanting to integrate prayer in to their day.

5 Practical Ways to Integrate Prayer from IFWE

1. Use Technological Reminders – set up tasks with reminders on your calendar or to do app to pray for specific people or specific needs.

2. “Attach” Prayers to Regular Activities or Objects You See Often – link a prayer request to activities which you do often. Can you think of ways to link a prayer request to each? E.g. Brush your teeth – “May my words be clean and honor You.” Clean your glasses – “Help me to see people as You see people.”

3. Use Passwords and Entry Codes as Prayer Triggers – Select passwords and codes to remind you to pray or ask for wisdom. For example, 4HimLeadMe, with a few extra numbers or punctuation marks are difficult to guess and good reminders to pray. Read more

7 Prayer Habits of Highly Effective People: Part 2

We asked BAM practitioners what prayer habits, practices or experiences they have found helpful in their business life. We identified some recurring themes that BAMers shared with us: 7 prayer habits for effective business as mission!

Read Part 1 for the first three prayer habits that BAM practitioners shared with us. Here are the final four:

Write it down

Some practitioners have found value and encouragement in writing down what to pray for and keeping track of answers to prayer.

Part of the culture in my organization is to write down the seven most important prayer points in a journal and pray for one item daily. For instance every Monday our prayer focus is on integrity, that God will help us pursue our goals ethically and grow in character. This way, we track answers to prayer as they happen and it’s a great joy to look back from time to time and see how God has answered prayer in very remarkable ways. – Henry, South Africa Read more

7 Prayer Habits of Highly Effective People: Part 1

We asked BAM practitioners what prayer habits, practices or experiences they have found helpful in their business life. We identified some recurring themes that BAMers shared with us: 7 prayer habits for effective business as mission!

Prayer does make us more effective in business as mission because of that vital connection and co-working with the Lord. But while the title of this blog is a play on words from a famous business book by Stephen Covey, it is worth noting that many of the BAM practitioners who shared with us often did not feel very effective in prayer. Some related that they just don’t consider their prayer life particularly victorious, but are grateful for God’s grace. Others said they felt guilty about prayer, or not particularly good at it, or just found it awkward praying in another language. Some have experienced years where prayer has been wonderful, but at other times struggled to be consistent. Just as in any other walk of life, prayer in the business context takes perseverance and commitment and we don’t always get it right. However, the following experiences and habits have helped different people around the world integrate prayer into their BAM companies:

Weave prayer throughout company life

Prayer is something to be ‘threaded’ through the fabric of the business, not compartmentalised or sidelined. BAM practitioners shared many more ways they do this in the habits listed below, however the principle of having prayer integrated in multiple ways stood out: Read more

How Prayer Can Shape a Business

How does prayer and direction from God shape a business? What role does prayer have in the birth of a company?

We asked BAM practitioners to share how prayer has been significant to them in the preparation and launch stages of their companies. They shared how prayer has led them to discover new business opportunities, brought them to early crucial business breakthroughs, and also helped shape their:

  • Business model
  • Vision and mission for the business
  • Company values and practices
  • Business plan and strategy

In his description of 5 Stages of the Birth of a New BAM Company, Peter Shaukat outlines different activities involved in incubating the emerging business. Many of these involve identifying what God has already done or is doing:

The preparation stage includes recognizing what God has already done in the practitioner’s life in regards to their sense of missional call and life experiences. What has God been doing to both missionally and professionally prepare the person, in terms of their skills and competencies? This is where mentoring should begin: Tell me what God has been doing in your life? Tell me what your sense of call is? Tell me how God has been preparing you? The incubation of a new BAM business is the result of the process that God has already been doing before that. The perception stage is the next step. This is about gaining an understanding of what is going on in the environment that God has called you to do business as mission within; and what God wants to do through the business. What is going on in that environment in commercial terms? What is the missional calling to the people group? How is God raising up your business? The perceiving stage addresses the question: What is your business going to be about, commercially and missionally? This is the beginning of the gestation stage of the new business.

Spiritual preparation and prayer go hand in hand with good commercial practices to build strong foundations for BAM companies. Here is how nine BAM practitioners have experienced prayer in the birth of their business: Read more