The work of frontline organisations will be ever more crucial in tackling the exploitation of those made more vulnerable by the covid-19 pandemic. At the Freedom Fund, we remain deeply committed to supporting those communities. Though it’s hard to see beyond the pandemic right now, we do have positive news to share in our latest annual impact report.
To date, we and our 100 or so partners have directly impacted the lives of 686,468 men, women and children in slavery or at risk of it. We helped place more than 56,000 at-risk children back in school and liberated over 27,000 people from exploitation. Working together, our frontline partners are promoting policies that protect millions of the world’s most vulnerable people, challenging the underlying systems that allow slavery to persist.
In addition, we have also received powerful external validation of our hotspot model. This model works to concentrate resources by bringing frontline organisations together to collectively tackle exploitation in their communities. Several evaluations of our community-based programs in India by leading research organisations documented a sharp reduction in the prevalence of debt bondage – from 56.2% to 11.4% over a three-year period. Across the 1,100 communities in our northern and southern India programs, this equates to 125,000 fewer individuals in bonded labour.
While more needs to be done to accelerate progress to end slavery, we can take encouragement from the fact that we now have data and proven strategies to better fight this scourge. We extend our thanks and appreciation to all our supporters for enabling our efforts to end modern slavery.