child rights report coverAll too often, the price of gold includes a human toll. At many mining sites, children are exploited as workers.

A new report by Free the Slaves, Child Rights in Mining, examines the problem of child slavery and child labor at informal gold mines. Investigators uncovered cases of sex slavery involving young girls, which has become common at mining camps. The report also details how an FTS-led pilot project improved community attitudes toward protecting children from harmful work.

The pilot project was “intended to address the lack of awareness and protection of child rights.” The team created educational booklets that covered themes such as parenting, child labor and sexual abuse in mining communities.

The effort produced impressive results:

  • Suitable Work: Percentage of participants who could identify suitable work for children rose from 5 percent at baseline to 93 percent at pilot project completion.
  • Child Impacts: Percentage of participants who could identify impacts on children of hazardous work rose from 4 percent at baseline to 79 percent at pilot project completion.
  • Child Behavior: Percentage of participants who could identify impacts on children hazardous work rose from 4 percent at baseline to 79 percent at pilot project completion.
  • Government Assistance: Percentage of participants who had knowledge of government agencies to contact in cases of child exploitation rose from 25 percent at baseline to 61 percent at pilot project completion.
  • Child Protection: Percentage of all participants at pilot project completion who had taken appropriate action to protect children: 25 percent. Percentage of participants who are parents who had taken action to protect their own children at pilot project completion: 71 percent.

The evaluators found that as community members began learning more about child rights, they were motivated to take action and learn how to advocate for greater child protection. As a result, communities are now better able to hold government institutions accountable for guaranteeing child rights.

FTS partnered with Participatory Development Associates and the Social Support Foundation on the project. You can learn more about our work in Ghana on the FTS Ghana webpage.

Free the Slaves is excited to announce the opening of an exclusive auction that benefits FTS frontline work!Gillian Anderson

Gillian Anderson, who appeared most notably in X-Files and Last King of Scotland, is generously auctioning off the chance to meet her on the set of THE FALL in Belfast!

Anderson is starring in SOLD, a new feature film adaptation of the globally acclaimed novel by Patricia McCormick.

The film is based on true stories that illustrate the brutality of child trafficking. Anderson learned about Free the Slaves through her character, who was based on real life photographer and friend of FTS, Lisa Kristine. When doing research for the part, she visited Lisa’s website and saw that her work was inspired by the photos Lisa took at Free the Slaves programs around the world and decided that she would donate one auction item for FTS.

You can bid on the auction through ebay here!  One hundred percent of the auction sale will go to Free the Slaves.

It ends on March 30, 2014, so make sure to tell your friends and get your bids in now!



survivors of slavery coverThe people who know slavery best are the people who have lived it. Now you can read about their experiences in their own words.

Laura Murphy has just released a book that will deepen your perspective on modern-day slavery. Survivors of Slavery: Modern Day Slave Narratives includes nearly 40 survivor narratives representing various forms of slavery in the world today, including Cambodia, Ghana, Lebanon, Macedonia, Mexico, Russia, Thailand, Ukraine, and the United States. Murphy’s book underscores how the injustice of slavery persists, and spotlights urgent steps that are underway to stop it.

By appealing to those interested or involved in sociology, criminology, law, social work, women’s studies or political science, this book acts as an invaluable resource for activists, scholars and legislators alike.

Survivors of Slavery: Modern Day Slave Narratives is available for pre-order on Amazon.

Congratulations to Laura from the staff of Free the Slaves! She’s a long-time FTS supporter and our former college chapter coordinator.  A portion of the royalties will benefit Free the Slaves.

Women are at the core of the modern abolitionist movement, and can help end slavery by working together. That’s the key takeaway from the Women Ending Slavery Spreecast, which is now available online. The hour-long discussion unfolded last Friday to celebrate International Women’s Day 2014.

The Spreecast highlighted what slavery looks like today, what women are currently doing to end slavery, and how you can help women and children break free from this global injustice. Speakers included Free the Slaves Director of Programs Karen Stauss, Jessica Leslie of Vital Voices, Tina Frundt of Courtney’s House and actress and Free the Slaves supporter Virginia Williams.

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Jessica Leslie of Vital Voices and Karen Stauss at Free the Slaves speaking online as they open the “Women Ending Slavery” Spreecast. Photo: FTS/Hodges

Karen Stauss opened the discussion by describing how she has personally seen women organize and lead communities in the countries where Free the Slaves works. “This is not something that goes unseen or is invisible, women are actually impacting and changing lives,” she said.

Trafficking survivor Tina Frundt discussed how rescuing a victim goes “beyond the rescuing of a body.” She talked about the long-term psychological and medical attention that survivors receive at her survivor-led organization.

Actress/activist Virginia Williams noted that women must start to support one another by funneling their passion to end slavery in order to educate and inform those around them. “Women need to help women because when we come together, the impact will be overwhelming,” she said. “We can bring about healing in such a profound way.”

The Spreecast concluded with a Q&A session on how survivors are reintegrated into everyday life, and how spiritual/religious communities can get involved.

When asked what can people do today to make a difference, Karen urged contacting their U.S. Senators and U.S. House representative to encourage them to support bills HR 3344 and HR 1732/S 1823 which focus on strengthening the rights of trafficked children and requiring greater transparency in the recruitment of foreign workers.

It is time to follow these women’s examples and take action against modern-day slavery. As Virginia quoted Deepak Chopra: “Attention energizes, intention transforms.”

Become intentional. Visit the Free The Slaves website to see our slavery fact sheet, tip sheet for action, and other ways you can spread the word.  Or donate to our projects, which are moving women and girls from slavery to freedom in hot spots around the globe.  

Pope_Francis_2013_wikipediaNot many people would consider the pope to be a fighter, but if it is against human trafficking, then you can count Pope Francis in.

The National Catholic Bishops Conference of Brazil this week launched their 51st annual Brotherhood Campaign. This year, the 2014 Brotherhood Campaign’s theme is “Brotherhood and Human Trafficking.”

The campaign aims to raise awareness about the injustice of human trafficking by educating Brazilians and training “pastoral agents” on how to confront trafficking in their communities. Modern-day slavery is an urgent issue that needs be addressed in Brazil. According to The Global Slavery Index, Brazil has approximately 200,000 to 220,000 people trapped in slavery today.

1_0_778825Pope Francis sent his encouragement via letter for an Ash Wednesday campaign  kick-off, urging Brazilians in the next 40 days to try to be more aware of helping their fellow man to be free. He urged the mobilization of Brazilian society to “scourge human trafficking,” as it is “impossible to remain indifferent when one learns that there are human beings who are bought and sold like merchandise.”

The pope presented a call to action for people to make a “good examination of their conscience” by combating an injustice that permits humans to be seen as objects. He wrote that human dignity is the “same for all human beings: when I tread on the dignity of another, I tread on my own.”

Pope Francis encouraged Brazil to commit to the fight against human trafficking, because it is the “most effective base to re-establish human dignity.”

To find out more about modern-day slavery in Brazil, what FTS is doing about it, and what you can do to help end it, visit the Free the Slaves website.

To read the full translated text of Pope Francis’ letter to the 2014 Brotherhood Campaign click here.