Slavery is a global, criminal industry generating $150bn a year. An estimated 35.8 million people live in a state of modern slavery today. It takes many forms, and is known by many names. Today’s slaves are trapped in fishing fleets and sweatshops, mines and brothels, and in the fields and plantations of countries across the world. It can be called human trafficking, forced labour, slavery, or it can refer to the slavery-like practices that include debt bondage, forced or servile marriage, and the sale or exploitation of children.
On the 26th September 2013 at the annual Clinton Global Initiative in New York City, Legatum Foundation announced that it has partnered with two leading anti-slavery activists and donors, Humanity United and Walk Free to create the Freedom Fund, an ambitious seven-year effort to raise and deploy $100 million or more to combat modern-day slavery.
The Freedom Fund is the world's first private donor fund designed to end modern-day slavery. It is based on the investment approach of its founders and aims to leverage donor funds to significantly increase the impact of existing and new anti-slavery initiatives and enable the scaling up of successful programmes globally.
The Fund targets specific areas of high prevalence using a ‘Hotspot’ funding model. A “hotspot” refers to a geographic area known to have a high incidence of modern slavery. Within these hotspots the Fund supports a range of community-based organisations to help them protect those at risk of slavery, liberate and rehabilitate those enslaved and prosecute those responsible. The Fund also aims to disrupt the systems, at a national and international level, that perpetuate slavery and reinforce those that foster freedom, including through policy advocacy, private sector engagement, and working with the media.
Legatum is committed to fighting this scourge which often feeds on the dreams of the poor who are seeking a better life. The victims are mostly women and children who have hopes of learning a new skill, working as a domestic servant or in a factory. Instead, they find servitude, forced labour and sometimes prostitution.
Over the past decade, Legatum has funded over 125 projects aimed at empowering, educating and rescuing victims of trafficking and slavery. Click here to explore some of our activities in this area.