Skip to content

Breaking the back of modern slavery – our progress to date

December 14, 2015

By the end of this month, the Freedom Fund will have been in operation for two very busy years.

In that time, working with our committed frontline partners in India, Nepal, Ethiopia and Thailand, we will have:

  • liberated 4,761 men, women and children from slavery
  • ensured 15,968 children at risk of slavery instead get to go to school
  • assisted with 650 legal cases against traffickers
  • supported 92 anti-slavery organisations around the world
    • 63 of them in our hotspot projects in high slavery prevalence countries
    • 29 working internationally

It’s easy to gloss over big numbers, however impressive. So I ask you instead to think of Seeta, a woman in Bihar, north India (pictured on the right), who – if it wasn’t for the intervention of the Freedom Fund and one of our Indian partners – would still be enslaved in debt bondage. She had taken on a loan of $164 to treat her husband’s tuberculosis. Over time she paid it back tenfold, but the lender insisted she keep on working, saying she had only paid off the interest. She and her husband ended up working for the lender, unpaid, for 15 years. Her husband died in 2013. Now, through our intervention, Seeta is free. She has a bank account and our partner has helped her join a community self-help group. She is generating her own income. With her community’s support, she will never go back into slavery.

Sadly, Seetha and the thousands of others we have helped liberate represent only a fraction of the over 35 million enslaved around the world. Which is why we are rigorously researching and testing and documenting the most successful interventions in all the countries we work in. We share that knowledge with governments and organisations who are committed to fighting slavery, in order that successful programs can be replicated and scaled. That’s how all of us, working together, can break the back of modern slavery in the coming years.

None of this would be possible without the support of our many friends, partners, investors and fellow-travellers. This support comes in many forms. One of the most inspiring this year has been the dedication of Peter Hallatt to generate awareness of modern slavery and raise funds to combat it. Peter works at one of our founders, Legatum, and has now run eleven marathons this year to support the Freedom Fund. He ran his twelfth marathon in twelve months on Sunday 13th December in Dallas.

Peter is aiming to raise $120,000 for the Freedom Fund’s efforts to end slavery, and we are dedicating this end of year email to support him in achieving his fundraising goal. If you wish to make a contribution to Pete’s campaign, you can do so here.

The holiday season is a time to be thankful, and as this year comes to an end I want to express my deep gratitude to all of you for your continuing support and encouragement to the Freedom Fund and our efforts to end modern slavery around the world. We are confident that together we can build a world free of slavery.

Photo credit: Adithi

Written by
Nick Grono