We’re proud that the leader of one of the anti-slavery organizations we support has been recognized by the U.S. Department of State. Dr. Bhanuja Saran Lal, Director of Manav Sansadhan Evam Mahila Vikash Sansthan (MSEMVS) in India received the 2014 Trafficking in Persons Report Hero Award and was presented with the honor in Washington D.C. by Secretary of State John Kerry on 20th June, 2014.
MSEMVS, whose name means “Society for Human Development and Women’s Empowerment,” is an anti-trafficking organization led by Dr. Lal, and is located in Uttar Pradesh, India. Uttar Pradesh is a source, transit and destination point for human trafficking, and has one of the largest bonded labor populations in India.
Working primarily in rural settings and in villages with a high percentage of bonded laborers, MSEMVS employs a model which seeks to first assist villagers in attaining their freedom, and then to equip villagers with the skills and knowledge to sustain their freedom and livelihoods. They do this by helping villagers in establishing community vigilance committees, creating alternative means of income, and establishing non-formal education centers for affected children. In 2013 alone, they helped to release 900 people from bonded labor, of which 24 were children.
The Legatum Foundation’s support of human liberty initiatives spans over a decade and we are committed to seeing an end to modern slavery. Along with Humanity United and Walk Free, we have launched the Freedom Fund, which is a new philanthropic initiative designed to bring much-needed financial resources and strategic focus to the fight against modern slavery. We’re pleased that MSEMVS is one of the Freedom Fund’s partners in India as well, ensuring that this innovative organization and inspirational leader will continue their great work in the years to come.
Read the Press Release here.