Slavery is a multi-billion dollar trade, generating $150 billion in profit a year to its perpetrators, according to the European Foundation Centre (EFC).
In 2013, three leading foundations – Humanity United, Legatum Foundation and Walk Free Foundation – each committed $10 million to create the Freedom Fund, which launched in January 2014. The money was invested entirely towards ending modern slavery, and constitutes the world’s first private donor fund dedicated to the cause.
The Freedom Fund uses this support to build collaboration at the grass-roots level in countries with a high concentration of slavery. We currently support over 60 local community-based organisations, encouraging them to work in clusters – which we call hotspots – in high prevalence countries such as India, Nepal, Ethiopia and Thailand. Partnering with these frontline organisations is key, because they work at the very heart of the problem and are often staffed by those formerly enslaved.
Apart from the Freedom Foundation, members of the OECD also spend approximately $120 million each year towards fighting the battle against modern day slavery. However, the EFC states that, “governments need to significantly scale up the resources they commit to fight slavery if they are to match their rhetoric and their commitments.”
In the recent United Nations Sustainable Development Goals issued in September 2015, modern slavery was addressed when UN members pledged to : “Take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025 end child labour in all its forms.”
However, the problem still exists. There is an urgent need for more funding to tackle the global crisis of forced labour, and foundations are calling on Western governments to direct more money towards fighting modern day slavery.
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Photo Caption: "Members of Migrant Care Indonesia hold banners that read, 'Saudi Arabia : Criminal on Humanity' during a protest over the torture of domestic worker Sumiati Binti Salan Mustapa, outside the Saudi Arabian embassy in Jakarta."