Leading U.S. Abolitionist Groups Enter Joint Initiative to Eradicate Modern-day Slavery

Dec 14, 2011, 07:00 ET from International Justice Mission

Grant provided by Google.org will mobilize millions of Americans

WASHINGTON, Dec. 14, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- International Justice Mission (IJM), Polaris Project and Slavery Footprint announced today that they will be implementing a multi-impact unified initiative to mobilize millions of Americans to fight modern-day slavery around the world.

Google.org will be funding the creation of this $1.8 million unified initiative in the United States, as one of three multi-year global collaborative partnerships it will fund to implement aggressive, metrics-oriented programs to fight modern-day slavery in the United States and overseas.

"It's hard for most Americans to believe that slavery and human trafficking are still massive problems in our world," said Gary A. Haugen, president and CEO of International Justice Mission. "But it's not hard to believe for the more than 27 million men, women and children held in slavery today.  This oppression is now against the law, but millions don't get the benefit of law enforcement.  To accelerate America's leadership in helping rescue and protect those most vulnerable at home and overseas, Google's support now makes it possible for IJM to join forces with two other leading organizations so we can bring to bear our unique strengths in a united front."

Team leaders are meeting today in Washington to kick off this partnership and begin planning for programs which will begin in 2012. By combining each leading organization's complementary experience and capabilities, this collaborative partnership aims to mobilize Americans in the fight against slavery and human trafficking in their communities and secure active participation from U.S. policymakers to support effective anti-slavery policies.

"With this grant, Google is helping us combine forces to not only increase the number of Americans who will learn about human trafficking, but also motivate people to take real steps to eradicate modern-day slavery from all of our communities," said Bradley Myles, executive director and CEO of Polaris Project. "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."

"Having a company like Google recognize the value of our work marks a major turning point for the anti-slavery movement. To date, the movement has relied heavily on anecdote and emotion. Google's support allows us greater empiricism, making us all the more successful. We are proud that Google shares our vision that technology and data can be uniquely effective in creating a tipping point in the movement," said Justin Dillon, founder and CEO of Slavery Footprint, a non-profit organization that provides consumers the tools to enter into productive engagement with corporations related to slavery within supply chains.

This U.S. joint initiative is one of three multi-year collaborative partnerships funded in total of $9.8 million, part of $11.5 million in total funding committed by Google.org to anti-slavery organizations. Two other coalitions of seven (7) international NGOs led by the International Justice Mission will implement aggressive, results-oriented projects to fight modern-day slavery in India to free thousands of slaves and protect millions of vulnerable individuals.

Each of the three multi-year joint initiatives funded by Google will drive measurable outcomes, such as rescuing thousands enslaved, improving infrastructure and resources of law enforcement overseas, improving legislation and enforcement of anti-slavery laws overseas, deterring perpetrators, mobilizing vulnerable populations, equipping freed slaves to maintain livelihoods, amplifying America's voice and securing active participation by policymakers to promote anti-slavery policies.

To report a tip in the United States or connect with U.S. anti-trafficking services, community members can call The National Human Trafficking Resource Center at: 1-888-373-7888.

About International Justice Mission
International Justice Mission (IJM) is a global human rights organization that brings immediate relief to victims of violence, sexual exploitation, slavery and oppression. Since 2005, IJM has assisted more than 9,000 individuals, many of whom were victims of forced labor slavery or sex trafficking. A multi-national team of lawyers and law enforcement professionals conduct criminal investigations and collect evidence to relieve victims and bring perpetrators to justice, and IJM social workers secure appropriate aftercare for victims of abuse. IJM's multi-national staff work in 13 countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America to ensure that the global poor are protected from violent forms of oppression by their countries' own laws. To learn more about IJM, visit www.ijm.org.           

About Polaris Project
Polaris Project is one of the leading organizations in the global fight against human trafficking and modern-day slavery.  Named after the North Star "Polaris" that guided slaves to freedom along the Underground Railroad, Polaris Project is transforming the way that individuals and communities respond to human trafficking, in the U.S. and globally. By successfully pushing for stronger federal and state laws, operating the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline (1-888-373-7888), conducting trainings, and providing vital services to victims of trafficking, Polaris Project creates long-term solutions that move our society closer to a world without slavery.  Learn more at www.polarisproject.org.

About Slavery Footprint
Slavery Footprint is a non-profit organization dedicated to ending forced labor, human trafficking, and modern day slavery through increased public awareness, action, and advocacy. At it's core, www.slaveryfootprint.org allows the consumer to visualize how their consumption habits are connected to modern-day slavery and provides them with an opportunity to have a deeper conversation with the companies that manufacture the goods they purchase. In addition to its digital activism tools, the Slavery Footprint team works with individuals, groups, and businesses to build awareness for and create deployable action against forced labor, human trafficking, and modern day slavery.

CONTACTS:
International Justice Mission
Theresa Shin, tshin@ijm.org 703-740-2968

Polaris Project
Megan Fowler, mfowler@polarisproject.org 202-540-5231

Slavery Footprint
Elisabeth Copper, elisabeth@slaveryfootprint.org 510-417-3383

SOURCE International Justice Mission



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