Google to fight modern slavery
15 December 2011, 10:00
San Francisco - Tech giant Google announced on
Wednesday it is donating $11.5m to several coalitions fighting to end
the modern-day slavery of some 27 million people around the world.
what is believed to be the largest-ever corporate grant devoted to the
advocacy, intervention and rescue of people being held, forced to work
or provide sex against their will, Google said it chose organisations
with proven records in combating slavery.
"Many people are
surprised to learn there are more people trapped in slavery today than
any time in history," said Jacquelline Fuller, director of charitable
giving and advocacy for Google. "The good news is that there are
The Washington-based International Justice Mission, a
human rights organisation that works globally to rescue victims of
slavery and sexual exploitation, was chosen by Google to lead the
It will partner with Polaris Project and Slavery
Footprint and a handful of smaller organisations for the multi-year
effort to rescue the enslaved, push for better infrastructure and
resources for anti-slavery enforcement agencies overseas, as well as
raise awareness in the US and help countries draft anti-slavery
"Each year we focus some of our annual giving on meeting direct human need," Fuller said.
"Google chose to spotlight the issue of slavery this year because there is nothing more fundamental than freedom."
A Haugen, president of the International Justice Mission, said the
coalition would focus on three initiatives: A $3.5m intervention project
to fight forced labour in India; a $4.5m advocacy campaign in India to
educate and protect the vulnerable; and a $1.8m plan to mobilise
Americans on behalf of the millions currently at risk of slavery or
waiting for rescue around the world.
The remaining $1.7m will go to several smaller organisations working to combat slavery.
hard for most Americans to believe that slavery and human trafficking
are still massive problems in our world," said Haugen.
support now makes it possible for IJM to join forces with two other
leading organisations so we can bring to bear our unique strengths in a
Those leading the US efforts will meet in
Washington on Wednesday to kick off the joint initiative. The project
will focus on improved legislation to protect vulnerable children and
adults in the US, as well as a push for more accountability and
transparency in the US supply chain by retailers and manufacturers to
make sure their products are "slave-free".
trafficking of women for the sex trade is common in big American
cities. Some illegal immigrants find themselves forced to work in
sweatshops, in private homes as domestic servants or on farms without
pay under the threat of deportation.
The new effort will launch
new initiatives that ordinary Americans can take to help abolish
modern-day slavery, such as understanding how their own clothing or
smartphones might contain fabrics or components manufactured by forced
"Whether it's by calling the national human trafficking
hotline, sending a letter to their senator, or using online advocacy
tools, millions of Americans will be able to use their voices to ensure
that ending this problem becomes a top priority," said Bradley Myles,
executive director of Polaris Project.
Google.org - the
philanthropy arm of the Silicon Valley firm - announced the anti-slavery
effort as part of its $40m in end-of-year giving that brings its
charitable donations to more than $100m in 2011.
The grants will
also support science, technology, engineering and math education;
girls' education in the developing world; and the use of technology for
Justin Dillon, the founder of Slavery Footprint,
said the Google grant would allow the movement to move from "anecdote
and emotion", to tangible action that could make a dent in history.
a company like Google recognise the value of our work marks a major
turning point for the anti-slavery movement," said Dillon, whose
non-profit gives consumers some tools to determine whether slaves were
used in the making of their goods and teaches them to use social media
to sound off about slavery and engage with corporations about their