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Southern India

Hotspot start date: September 2015

In the Indian state of Tamil Nadu the Freedom Fund is supporting a program bringing together community-based and workplace-based action against forms of bonded labour and exploitation that persist in some parts of the textile industry. The hotspot also connects local voices and experiences to the global movement for decent work in the industry.

Fourteen NGOs are working together in over 400 communities to reduce adolescents’ vulnerability to exploitation, help survivors to rebuild their lives and develop support from village and district government. To tackle the causes of vulnerability, community groups in each location help the poorest families to improve their income and know their rights. The program also works with local and international businesses to develop worker support groups and compliance with legal standards inside spinning mills.

Read the Southern India Hotspot 2020 Annual Report.

Multiple evaluations have found that the Freedom Fund’s labour interventions stop abuses, protect workers and change structural conditions to keep families out of bonded labour in 1,100 villages targeted by our partner organisations in northern and southern India. Read our Evidence in Practice paper.

Click here to read more about the southern India hotspot.

Our impact as of the end of 2020

Total Invested$8.7m



Lives impacted

Number of active, regular participants of programs supported by the Freedom Fund. Includes members of community vigilance committees, self-help groups, individuals rescued from slavery, and those given educational, psychosocial or income generation services. Excludes those provided with one-time information.


Total invested

Total funds invested in hotspot programs since the Freedom Fund’s inception.


Cost per person

Average cost of community interventions per active, regular participant. Excludes grants made to partners working indirectly, e.g. at international policy level or for research and evaluation purposes. Excludes grants made for research and evaluation purposes.


Victims liberated

Number of people liberated from any form of slavery, be it through gradual change of circumstance or shorter “rescue event”. The Freedom Fund’s approach is to only support liberations where services for survivor recovery are provided. We formalised this policy with partners in July 2016. Prior to this date a small proportion of reported liberations may not have included follow-up support.

Survivor recovery services are provided (by Freedom Fund partner or other agency) to ensure the individual can resettle with their family or independently, and can access socio-economic and legal assistance to ensure their freedom can be sustained.


Community freedom groups supported

Number of active, local groups, including community vigilance committees and self-help savings and loans groups, formed or supported by Freedom Fund partners.


At-risk children in school

Number of previously out-of-school children in slavery-affected communities now attending formal or informal education as a result of Freedom Fund support.


Graduates of vocational training

Number of slavery survivors or highly vulnerable individuals completing vocational training courses provided or referred by Freedom Fund partners.


Micro-enterprises started

Number of slavery survivors or highly vulnerable individuals who have started micro-enterprises or gained a new form of income as a result of Freedom Fund support.


Individuals accessing social & legal services

Number of individuals provided with social and legal services by Freedom Fund partners. These services help slavery survivors recover from mental trauma as well as provide at-risk individuals with legal protection and options for recourse.


Individuals with new access to gov't services

Number of people supported by our partners who gain new access to government entitlements such as employment rights, school places, pensions, compensation payments, ID cards, and land rights.


Legal cases assisted

Number of individual legal cases that our partners provide any kind of support to, including advice, testimony, direct litigation, and witness protection.



Number of arrests of traffickers and slaveholders in which one or more Freedom Fund partners played a key supporting role.


Media stories

Number of media stories about slavery and trafficking that can be attributed to the Freedom Fund or its partners’ efforts to generate attention to the issue.


See more global metrics.


Access Livelihoods Consulting
Centre for Action and Rural Education
Child Voice
Ethical Trading Initiative, Tamil Nadu Multistakeholder Initiative
Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex
Novo Media
Organisation of Development Action and Maintenance
Partners in Change
Peace Trust
People’s Action for Development
Rights Education and Development Centre
Society for Peoples Education and Economic Change
The Salem Don Bosco Anbu Illam Social Service Society
Tamil Nadu Rural Reconstruction Movement
Trust for Education and Social Transformation
Vaan Muhil Trust
Vizhuthgal Social Education and Development Trust
Women’s Organisation in Rural Development
Women’s Organisation for Rural Development


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