For Half Moon Bay resident Enrique “Kique” Bazan, ending slavery is his ultimate goal in life.
“I don’t know what else to do,” said the 36-year-old, who’s been an advocate for justice his whole life, co-founding the Not For Sale Campaign, a nonprofit that aims to mobilize people to fight the global slave trade.
“If only we can arrest the global slave trade in my lifetime,” he said over a cup of coffee one recent January morning. “Giving people freedom, that’s my focus.”
Bazan is articulate and sincere. He’s grounded in his mission to abolish modern-day slavery and human trafficking, and within just a few minutes of talking to him, it’s evident that his life experience, passion and vocation are converged into a unified strife that he — in an almost effortless manner — commits himself to every day.
“Human trafficking is slavery,” Bazan said. “When we talk about conditions like sexual exploitation of children, we cannot call it prostitution. It needs to be called slavery because there is not a drop of will in those children to be exposed to that situation. There are lots of other situations where children are forced to do labor against their will like the mining, cotton and chocolate industries. We need to be transparent about who is profiting from it and create alternative markets and supply chains so people and children can enjoy their freedom.”
No one knows this better than Bazan, who’s witnessed firsthand in his native Peru the devastating consequences and exploitative effects of human trafficking, a global industry that enslaves 27 million people, half of them children. He knows from research and work experience why there are more slaves living around the world than ever before.
“You can say that my passion met a need in the world and has became my focus, my vocation,” said Bazan, who describes himself at work as “passionate, innovative, and strategic.”
“Vocation is connecting your skills with the needs of the world," he said. "I work hard to live my vocation and work with other people to live theirs as well.”
As international investment director for Not for Sale Campaign, with an office located in the far corner of the mall of Princeton's Shoppes At Harbor Village, Bazan oversees investments in international projects that are “innovative, scalable, and bring about a tangible solution for the people who find themselves in slavery,” said Not For Sale Campaign president David Batstone. “He also recruits new investors and maintains relationships and reporting to existing supporters.”
“I work on human rights because I want to help people who want to return to and restore their dignity,” Bazan said, “but I also work on the entrepreneur side of things to create jobs for them, bringing together their dignity and rights with a positive purpose for their life.”
Bazan comes to this position with a lot of hard work and an awareness of slavery that stems from his childhood, growing up in Lima, Peru, where his mother, a human rights activist, founded Generación, a shelter to protect sexually exploited street children, and his father, a partner with Save the Children programs in Latin America for 25 years.
“My parents have given their lives to promote and protect the rights of the most vulnerable children in Peru and around Latin America,” said Bazan. “I remember one of the first nights my mother had children stay at the shelter, then an office. There were hundreds of children sleeping there, on the floor, wherever they could find space, some of them looking for safety by sleeping in the cupboards where office supplies were stored,” he said.
He watched his parents through their work bring justice to the streets of Lima with awareness, advocacy and a rehabilitation program that offers education and work skills to rescued children. Bazan and his four siblings were accustomed to sharing their parents with the “adopted” street kids and from this childhood experience, Bazan learned early on that “human rights and the dignity of human beings are not negotiable,” he said.
Out of all his siblings, Bazan was the one who was most involved with the family’s work, he said, volunteering as “a street educator and acting as a human shield to protect the street children and provide them direction toward a more positive, dignified path,” he said. “I tried to fulfill their dreams, working every weekday from 8 p.m. until 2 in the morning.”
On the weekends Bazan would go to the coast and surf, and it was during those surf sessions that he had time to reflect, and his value system changed, he said. Bazan realized how addictive street life was and wanted to do something more.
“I suddenly realized that you can become a burden and part of the problem, not the solution,” he said.
Out of that revelation, Generación soon expanded and began providing the education and work skills the children needed to restore their dignity and become self-sufficient adults. Soon thereafter his mother began running a house in a coastal town about an hour from Lima where some of the Generación kids lived and learned how to surf, and were safe and off the streets.
Bazan went on to become a teacher, studying history and geography at the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Peru. He was an exchange student in Sweden for some time and then in 2000, as an exchange teacher, he came to Half Moon Bay through the Amity Scholar program for Spanish Immersion program.
He lived with Coastside resident Charles Nelson and his family, and “I was lucky to be in his home because I learned a lot about what it is to be an entrepreneur,” said Bazan. “Charles was just starting up his business, and I got from him how important it is to create something sustainable with meaning and purpose. He opened my eyes to taking a larger perspective on investments. ”
It was at this time that Bazan met business entrepreneur, writer and University of San Francisco (USF) ethics professor David Batstone, now also president of the Not for Sale Campaign and “a Half Moon Bay dad who had children in the Spanish Immersion program at Hatch,” explained Bazane. “In a presentation at USF, I was amazed that I was able to talk so freely about human rights and social justice issues because in Peru, especially at the end of the Civil War, you could not say those words at that time.”
Bazan was encouraged by Batstone and others to apply to USF. In 2001 he went back to Peru but soon found himself packing his bags to return to Half Moon Bay. He stayed with Batstone for a bit and through scholarships to USF and a job, he enrolled in classes. He got his master’s degree in theology and religious studies, and by May 2009 completed his doctorate in organizational leadership.
The University of San Francisco gave Bazan “great inspiration through an education and connected me with mentors like Lois Lorentzen and Mike Duffy,” he said. USF also introduced Bazane to other students like Mark Wexler, who launched Not For Sale Campaign with Bazan and Batstone.
“This group is the sounding board for most of what I do,” said Bazan. “They and David Batstone push me and challenge me to give the best of me. We celebrate successes, avoid mistakes, and take on tasks to educate people and solve the most indispensable problems of our times.”
Batstone and wife Wendy “gave me an example of how to raise a family and reach for high and meaningful goals,” he said. “I am very fortunate of having David as a mentor, partner and as a friend.”
On long bike rides during this time, Batstone and Bazan talked about the crucial issues of human rights and trafficking. Batstone had recently read in a local paper that one of his favorite Indian restaurants in the Bay Area had been trafficking women from India to work there. Batstone, shocked that this was happening in his country at a restaurant he frequented, wanted to learn more about slavery, a hidden crime that he soon discovered lurches in our own backyards. He mobilized Bazan with other students to systemically track questionable businesses that could be fronts for involuntary servitude. Bazan did research with gangs in El Salvador and San Francisco as well.
From their passion, research and lengthy discussions, the idea for the Not for Sale Campaign was hatched. In 2007 they started the campaign, combining technology, intellectual capital, abolitionist groups and a growing network of individuals with the mission to end slavery in our lifetime. Its framework follows the concept of what Batstone calls “open-source activism,” which encourages and mandates individual abolitionists to develop their own creative solutions wherever they live. The decentralized approach invites campaigning members to identify what slavery looks like in their city, state or provinces. The Not For Sale Campaign provides the tools to act locally and shows activists how their local action connects with global activism.
The Not For Sale Campaign has quickly become one of the world’s top organizations, leading the charge against human trafficking and slave labor. Indeed, in two years of operation, the Not For Sale Campaign has more than 40 state operations; projects in Uganda, Peru, Thailand, Cambodia and Honduras; eight full time staff members; and the Freedom Store, a boutique in the Harbor Village mall that sells an international collection of fairly made products (clothing and jewelry to handbags and art) that create employment and income for survivors of human trafficking and those vulnerable to exploitation.
The nonprofit is also part of a social venture Batstone co-founded called Right Reality, which includes business consulting services and a company that builds and sells organic farming tools.
“Right Reality is about helping nonprofits be financially viable, and companies be socially responsible,” said Bazan, who is also a partner of Right Reality. “We have proven models of development that other organization would want to imitate. These models not only restore the dignity of the most vulnerable but improve their environment,” said Bazan.
Bazan is “passionate, globally strategic while locally impactful and a bridge builder,” said Batstone, who authored Not for Sale and Saving the Corporate Soul.
“Bazan’s work is critical for helping us build the resources we need to bring about freedom for individuals all over the globe,” Bastone continued.
Bazan’s says he’s “been fortunate of having energetic, passionate, and smart people around him”-- including his parents, for one.
He also gives credit to his adoptive families for providing inspiration and support: “I was lucky being an exchange student in Sweden, and an exchange teacher in the United States. Charles Nelson and his family in the United States and Olle and Wivianne Anderson in Sweden have taught me a lot about caring and being men and women for others.”
In addition to his full-time commitment to the Not for Sale Campaign, Bazan teaches undergrads at USF a course on Contemporary Moral Issues: Immigration. He is also associate director for Social Justice & Community Action at the University Ministry of USF, and contributed to the book Religion at the Corner of Bliss and Nirvana: Politics, Identity, and Faith in New Migrant Communities.
“His work is effortless, because it flows so naturally from the person he is, and the commitments he has made,” said Batstone. “In some respects you could say that he was born to do this work, since his parents raised him in a home where street children were not seen as problems or even objects of charity, but as brothers and sisters to embrace with dignity.”
When at his home in town with his wife, who spent most of her childhood growing up in Half Moon Bay, and one-year-old daughter, Bazan says he is “caring, happy and relaxed.”
In some regards, Bazan’s life has come full circle. He’s living in Half Moon Bay, the very place that gave his start in the United States, and he’s working for an organization that at its very core fights for human rights, the same fight his parents are committed to through their work. He’s also been able to give back to his parents in Peru with the Not For Sale Campaign helping to build shelters and launching business opportunities. Surfboards and wet suits from Half Moon Bay were also donated to the surf house outside of Lima.
“In my life and work, I’ve come to realize that slavery is far from being a thing of the past,” said Bazan, “and that slavery will most likely continue to cross our path on a regular basis without awareness and if we don’t do something about it now.”
How to get involved in the movement to stop slavery: Go to www.notforsalecampaign.org and click on "Take Action." The Not For Sale Campaign has a variety of events, solutions and programs that you can participate in to end slavery in your own backyard and across the globe. Also, wear orange, the color of freedom.