Awareness is Overrated

Lately my roommates have been on a carrot kick. There are constantly bags of baby carrots in the fridge and the sound of crunching can often be heard coming from the kitchen. It didn’t take long for me to jump on the bandwagon, and now I, too, have a bag of baby carrots in the fridge that I snack on. According to Wikipedia, the carrot gets its characteristic and bright orange color from β-carotene, which is metabolized into vitamin A when bile salts are present in the intestines. Carrots are also rich in dietary fibre, antioxidants, and minerals (stay with me, I promise there is a point to this). My knowledge of how good carrots are for me is merely that, knowledge. It does not give my body vitamins or minerals. For that to happen action is necessary; I have to eat the carrots.

Often, when people talk about ending human trafficking, they are trying to raise awareness. Many non-profits are organizing ‘awareness campaigns’ to spread the word that slavery still exists. I agree that it is a good place to start, but it is by no means the solution. Every person on this planet could be aware of slavery and it will still exist. It is time for knowledge to become overrated and action to become necessary.

After lots of research, Not For Sale learned that many of the girls working in the windows in Amsterdam are from Hungary and Romania. With that knowledge, we have recently launched a catering program in the red light district.

soup

The new soup brand was created around the idea of “Home” as a safe environment and a place of security and refuge.

“The Not For Sale catering pilot program, located in the heart of Amsterdam’s Red Light District, will employ survivors of exploitation as chefs to prepare meals that will be delivered to individual women working in the brothels. Our kitchen and community space will simultaneously provide a safe place where women can come share a meal before or after work. Throughout the program, Not For Sale will offer survivors of exploitation the opportunity to join a job skill training program in culinary arts and catering. By having a community space, the catering program becomes visible, demonstrating that meals are made for the women by the women, thus displaying the possible employment alternatives to prostitution. Eventually we will scale our operations to pilot a commercial sales distribution of our soups and breads. Telling the story of how new futures, opportunities, and jobs are being created for survivors of exploitation. Our ultimate aim is to assist women to return to their country of origin with job skills that empower, prevent, and protect them and their families from further exploitation.”

amsterdam

The NFS Netherlands Team testing the soup.

It is not merely enough to know about the issue, but to stand up and fight for change. We all play a much larger role than being made aware. How will you take action?

I once heard that if you eat enough carrots, your skin will start to turn orange. Imagine what it would be like if every person with knowledge about slavery took action. We could turn the world orange, the color of freedom, and truly end slavery … once and for all.

5 responses to “Awareness is Overrated

  1. Reblogged this on Rediscovering Social Justice and commented:
    Food for thought…

  2. I love this! Your analogy to carrots is quite effective as well. I totally agree we can’t just stop with awareness; there must be an act “capitalizing” on the said awareness. The problem is, how do we motivate people to do so? We are such a selfish society…I took the liberty of “reblogging” this on my blog. I hope you don’t mind.

  3. This is cool… sobering and cool.

  4. Precarious Yates

    I’m so glad someone is saying this! Someone may have only a small part, and may only help one or two, but if every one of us helped one or two there would be thousands helped!

  5. So tired of awareness, it’s time to get to work. I’ve been developing a program for two years that works to keep girls from becoming victims, but mean time I still attend community events, meetings, conferences and see the same people I have been seeing for over two years still becoming aware and doing, well, not much.

    Thanks for pointing this out and doing good work. We need to work on this issues from all angles, awareness is where people start, but too many think they are doing something by attending all the awareness events. Stop it already, get behind something, get committed, get to work!

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