The Option of Doing Nothing

In the business world, when a problem needs a solution, the hired consultant or the internal team often develop a presentation to present three options to management. Never one option, almost never two options, always three options. Why? One option is not an option, two options puts management under pressure and sometimes splits management decision-making, but three options gives everyone a way out. One of the frequently used third options is: do nothing. That doesn’t seem like an option, but it is still often used, although it can be disguised.

Birds in a Tree

Once an option is selected, a project starts with a presentation fanfare in which many beautiful pictures interspersed with beautiful texts about change, sustainability and strategies. There is a kick-off, after a few months some more beautiful lyrics and then it slowly becomes quiet again. The project has become  like a tree full of birds. If you clap your hands next to the tree, all the birds will fly away. Momentarily there will be lots of noise, movement, tumult, but after a few minutes, all birds will settle back on their respective branches.

However, doing nothing can also  have negative results. Consider the case when a person falls into a pond. Another person is watching – but does nothing. The victim drowns and the spectator can be charged and convicted. So, doing nothing is not always a good option.

Reset 2.0

I have the strong impression that human trafficking has been placed in the category ‘do nothing’ by the Dutch government. That does not mean that nothing is done – on the contrary: there is a lot of fluttering and twittering. But nothing essential is happening. The number of known victims remains undervalued by a factor of ten. The number of convictions can be counted on one hand. In fact, with all the published reports, files and studies, none of the criminals lie awake at night worrying about investigations. On the contrary, reports contain nothing to fear..

It is time for “Reset 2.0” – a new perspective and a new approach to combatting human trafficking. Traffickers do not care about national borders. The Netherlands, with its long track record as a leading anti-trafficking country and an exemplary role in human rights in Europe, could take the lead to  reset options and shake the tree.

Unfortunately, there is no shortage of victims.