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Multimillion dollar investment from the Stardust Fund to fight modern slavery

December 18, 2014 / Freedom Fund Updates, Blog Nick Grono / @nickgrono

We are delighted to announce a partnership with the Stardust Fund and artist and human rights activist Molly Gochman. As Stardust’s donor adviser, Molly intends to recommend a $6 million multi-year grant to the Freedom Fund.

This investment marks a significant step forward for the Fund, as it is the first to be made since the Freedom Fund was established earlier this year by its three initial investors, Humanity United, the Legatum Foundation and the Minderoo Foundation.

The investment demonstrates huge confidence in the Freedom Fund’s model, and its ability drive a measurable reduction in slavery globally. We are humbled by the faith in our work, and are committed to living up to it.

This investment will enable us to scale up our current hotspots in India and Nepal, and start working in Ethiopia to prevent the trafficking of girls and women to the Middle East. Together with the capital provided by our initial investors it will also allow us to start working in Thailand to address the enslavement of migrants in Thailand’s seafood industry.

The Stardust investment comes after a recent investor trip to India, where Molly saw first-hand the impact of the Freedom Fund’s work in liberating and supporting victims of slavery and witnessed the transformative impact of freedom for children and adult survivors. The Freedom Fund’s “hotspot” approach works with local organisations on the frontlines, targeting countries with the very highest concentration of slavery. India is home to an estimated 14m people in slavery, many more than any other country, which is why it was chosen for the Freedom Fund’s first hotspot.

This will be the Stardust Fund’s first significant international investment, and the grant is to be provided evenly over 3 years. Molly will work closely with the Freedom Fund as an advocate and ambassador in the fight against slavery, and will join the board of directors in January 2015.

“Facing significant economic and cultural barriers to ending slavery, the Freedom Fund and its partners are not only working to free millions of slaves now, they strike at core issues that increase the risk of future exploitation,” said Molly. “The Freedom Fund’s innovative financing and targeted interventions, grounded in our aligned values, gives me confidence that they will achieve measurable impact and empower an overwhelming number of lives.”

This very welcome news comes at the end of a very busy year for the Freedom Fund. While we are not yet a year old – we celebrate that anniversary on 24 December – there is already much to look back on, and so much more for us to do.

Some brief highlights from our year:

  • In the first six months of our Northern India hotspot, 775 people were reported rescued and 711 reintegrated with their families, and over 1000 rescued children or survivors’ children were newly in education.
  • We also commenced a hotspot in Nepal, and are on track to commence new hotspots in Ethiopia and Thailand in 2015.
  • To support slavery survivors in India, we partnered with the Thomson Reuters Foundation and launched Putting Justice First: Legal Strategies to Combat Human Trafficking in India at the Trust Women Conference in November.
  • With our partners Polaris and Minderoo Foundation, we launched the Global Modern Slavery Directory, an online database of more than 700 organisations around the world working against slavery, and growing.
  • One 2 December we were privileged to be present at the Vatican when Pope Francis, the Archbishop of Canterbury and a number of other religious leaders signed a joint declaration against modern slavery. Freedom Fund co-founder Walk Free Foundation was instrumental in bringing the faith leaders together.  Learn more about this momentous occasion.

Much remains to be done. But with your continued support, we can ensure that millions of girls and boys, and women and men can escape servitude in the coming years.

Thank you very much for all for your contributions to our success during our inaugural year. We are humbled by your generosity and look forward to continuing to work with all of you to achieve our ambitious goals in 2015 and beyond.