Friday, May 7, 2010

Breaking News Update
Location: Kolkata, India
Date: Monday, May 3, 2010
Result: Three perpetrators sentenced for trafficking young girls

This Monday, after years of IJM Kolkata's relentless advocacy, two men and one woman were sentenced to 10 years in prison for trafficking young girls for sex, following their convictions for the crime on Friday, April 30.

The perpetrators were arrested in 2007 after attempting to sell three girls, ages 12, 14 and 16, to IJM undercover investigators. Convictions and sentences for sex trafficking have been rare in Kolkata — but because of the commitment of IJM supporters and frontline staff, and the partnership of the local government, change is coming to the city.

20100506 - Breaking News - Kolkata

The three survivors abused by these perpetrators (including the IJM client pictured above) bravely took the stand during the court case and are each now healing in loving aftercare homes.

"Not only does the conviction of these perpetrators bring justice to the lives of their victims but it brings protection to the many more girls they will be unable to abuse because they have faced just consequences," explains IJM Director of Operations for South Asia Blair Burns.

Thank you for joining with IJM to seek justice and combat violent oppression. This is just one example of the victories made possible by this movement of friends, advocates and supporters around the world.

EMAIL - Signature - LHayes - Tan
Laurie Hayes
Director of Development

P.S. Visit to learn about other recent convictions and rescues.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Orphans... Restavacs... Slaves

Protecting Children in Haiti

We received the following dispatch from Free the Slaves staffer Zorba Leslie in Haiti. He is helping our partner organizations combat the country’s “resavek” system of child slavery. Zorba’s account underscores how dangerous Haiti remains three months after the devastating earthquake, and how community organizations are working to save children from slavery.

Zorba writes:

Some children that were in restavek slavery prior to the earthquake subsequently lost their “host” families and have been left to fend for themselves. And then there are children who were simply orphaned and now left unaccompanied who are falling into restavek slavery.

“The international agencies are working with the Haitian government and local groups to try to protect these children, but so many appear to be falling through the cracks.

“Many children that who have been taken in by families in camps are falling into the traditional role of a restavek: fetching water, running errands, cooking, cleaning, etc. But the conditions are so much worse and more dangerous. For instance, a family isn’t likely to send its own child on an errand after nightfall because they know the chances of that child being raped are heightened. So they’ll send the restavek child out into the dark.

“The community group KOFAVIV is continuing its essential work of providing support to victims of sexual violence. Participants trained in child rights are now advocating for children in the camps, and some parents are actively retrieving their children now that they understand the extreme harm inflicted upon them through the system.

“Free the Slaves’ collaboration with Beyond Borders, Limye Lavi and KOFAVIV seeks to significantly scale up this work.

"We’re planning to provide the training in child rights to dozens of groups across the camps. Participants will then form child protection committees to foster collective action to prevent abuse of children.”

Our work in Haiti is made possible by your continuing support.

Visit our online donor page to make a one-time or recurring contribution. Enter “Haiti Fund” in the designation window.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The 2010 Freedom Awards Sunday | November 7, 2010 | 6:00 p.m.

The Freedom Awards celebrate heroes of the anti-slavery movement from the U.S. and around the world.

The evening will be a powerful and inspiring testament to the human spirit, filled with musical performances and courageous personal stories from the frontlines of slavery. After the ceremony, right outside the door, join us for the anti-slavery movement’s best after-party: Freedom Rocks. Eat, dance, celebrate and find out how you can get involved in ending slavery.

2010 Freedom Award sponsorship opportunities now available. Click here

See how much fun you can have at the Freedom Awards, while you’re doing good. Click here

Friday, March 26, 2010

Frequently Asked Questions

1. When was Free the Slaves founded? Free the Slaves was founded in 2000 by Kevin Bales, Peggy Callahan, and Jolene Smith following publication of President Kevin Bales’ 1999 Pulitzer nominated Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy. FTS has grown into a respected and thriving organization, perceived as a thought-leader and catalyst within the anti-slavery movement. It has programs in seven countries, supported by staff on four continents, with well-established systems of coordination and accountability.

2. What is Free The Slaves' approach in ending slavery?
We work by providing accurate research and reporting on slavery, raising public and political awareness about the continuing existence of slavery, eliminating slave-made products from the supply chains of industries, and building partnerships with grassroots organizations who fight slavery.

3. What is Free The Slaves' annual budget? For 2010, around 3.5 million dollars.

4. What percentage of our funding comes from foundations versus private donors? Right now we rely heavily on foundation and institutional grants (roughly 70%), however in the future we want to rely more on individual donors and unrestricted gifts.

5. What is the percent/total of budget spent on staff?
Personnel costs are about one-third of the annual expenses for a staff of 25, here and abroad. Of these, 4 staff members do not receive any salary, but donate their time.

6. Do we receive government funding? Free The Slaves receives government funding to support a portion of the work of our international partners.

7. Do we work with other anti-trafficking organizations? Free the Slaves is a member of the US based ATEST (Alliance to Stop Slavery and End Trafficking) coalition with a number of prominent anti-trafficking organizations including Polaris Project, IJM, Vital Voices, Ricky Martin Foundation, and CAST. We also have close ties with the World Bank, UNICEF, IOM, UNIAP, and other major players in international work.

8. Do our international partners free slaves and offer direct services?
Yes, some of our partners directly remove and rescue victims from their situation, with the cooperation of local governments. There is a great need for more rehabilitation shelters for those newly freed workers ready to start a new life.

9. Where are our grassroots partners?
India, Nepal, Ghana, Uganda, Haiti, Brazil, and in process, the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

10. Do we provide any direct services to victims in US?
No, but Free the Slaves does refer cases to Polaris Project and other organizations focusing on the domestic problem.

11. What are the Freedom Awards and why are they important?
Begun in 2008 by a grant from the Templeton foundation, the Freedom Awards are given to celebrate heroes of the anti-slavery movement from around the world. Individuals and organizations chosen from a large pool of nominees by an international selection committee come to Los Angeles for a dazzling ceremony honoring their work. The cash prizes and media attention help them to leverage more support for their programs and scale up their work. The inspiring award ceremony is open to the public.