New Year’s Message of Hope

It’s been quite a year at Free the Slaves, especially for Executive Director Maurice Middleberg. He has spent much of 2013 on the road visiting our front line programs in Asia, Africa and the Caribbean. His meetings with slavery survivors and activists have led to an important insight.

“Slaveholders and traffickers are astonishingly vulnerable, while their intended victims can be amazingly powerful,” Maurice says. “This is our great discovery.”

You can see Maurice’s New Year’s video message now online.

“Education, organization, advocacy and protection. These are the tools that tumble the walls of slavery,” Maurice says. “Our goal is to deploy these tools far and wide.”

As 2013 comes to an end, and 2014 begins with Slavery Awareness Month in January, our thanks to all friends of Free the Slaves for your dedicated support.

Happy New Year!

Brazil’s elite anti-slavery police on a raid | FTS photo/Romano

They’re committed. They’re armed. And they’re successful. Very successful. Like 46,000 slaves freed since 1995 successful.

They’re the labor department’s mobile inspection units in Brazil. They swoop down on farms, ranches, mines, quarries, logging camps and factories to free slaves and prosecute slaveholders.

Many of the tips that set the squads in motion come from FTS front line partner CPT (Pastoral Land Commission).

This week the squads will be featured in a special half-hour BBC World Service radio documentary. The program is called “Assignment.”  It premieres at 00:32 GMT on December 26 (that’s 7:32 p.m. Christmas day in Washington or New York.) It will repeat several times on global radio in the following 24 hours. Or you can listen online here after the broadcast.

The BBC team accompanied a squad on a raid, interviewing the officers, people freed from slavery, and CPT’s anti-slavery leader and former FTS board member Xavier Plassat.

Cheers to the BBC for not only shining a light on global slavery, but for showcasing one of the world’s most inspiring anti-slavery stories during this holiday season.

BBC team interviews Xavier Plassat | CPT photo

BBC team interviews Xavier Plassat | CPT photo

Send a Holiday E-Card and Spread Freedom

2013 holiday e-card

Donate to Free the Slaves in honor of a friend, relative, colleague or neighbor and send them this e-card to let them know that they’re spreading freedom.

Dear Friends of Free the Slaves,

HOPE is one of the most important aspects of our mission at Free the Slaves.

We bring HOPE to those in slavery. HOPE that they can regain control of their lives. HOPE that they can triumph over oppression. HOPE that their children will be able to pursue their destiny in freedom.

The Free the Slaves model is simple. We educate those in slavery and those vulnerable to enslavement about their rights. We empower them to stand up for those rights. And we help them transform the political, economic and social forces that allow slavery to persist in their communities. We’re working in more than 600 trafficking hot spots worldwide.

Our strategy works. Slaves freed, traffickers jailed. Children return to school. Families start small businesses. Slavery survivors become elected officials. HOPE for a better future is restored.

We HOPE you will continue your support for Free the Slaves with a holiday or year-end donation — in your name or in honor of a friend, neighbor, colleague or relative. Click HOPE to contribute.

Thank you for your ongoing support. Together, we will triumph over slavery.

Warmest Holiday Wishes,

The Staff of Free the Slaves


They’re being billed as an “anti-trafficking trio” who “share a passion for freedom.” And they’ll be on the Web live today during a Google Hangout organized by Forbes magazine. The conversation begins at 3 p.m. ET.

The trio is FTS Executive Director Maurice Middleberg, acclaimed humanitarian photographer Lisa Kristine and 9-year-old anti-slavery activist Vivienne Harr. The three are featured characters in a new documentary film that will premiere next February, #standwithme.

The film tells the story of how Lisa’s stunning photography of Free the Slaves projects around the world inspired young Vivienne to raise thousands of dollars for the anti-slavery movement. The film explores Lisa’s journey of discovery as she is awakened to the existence of modern-day slavery, and it chronicles Vivienne’s remarkable fundraising efforts by selling lemonade. The movie takes viewers to the front lines of slavery with Maurice in Ghana, as he explains the innovative ways that FTS helps child slaves break free and stay free.

The Google Hangout interview is part of a series that will examine what can be accomplished in the fight to solve the world’s biggest challenges within the next 30 years, according to Forbes contributor Devin Thorpe, who covers social entrepreneurship and impact investing. “The solution to every big problem also presents opportunities entrepreneurs will exploit to change the world,” he writes.

fts lock without textPlease consider adding FTS to your gift-giving list this holiday season. With a one-time donation, or a recurring monthly contribution, you can help people break free from slavery around the world.

Trafficking is one of the greatest human rights challenges of our time. But it can be defeated if we all act together. FTS has an exemplary record as an effective and efficient anti-trafficking organization: 82% of contributions go directly to our programs.

Here are 10 great reasons to donate to FTS today:

Reason 1: We help free more than 1,500 slaves worldwide per year! In 2012, the total was more than 1,700. We’re on track to match that goal this year too.
Reason 2: We trigger the arrest of traffickers! It’s important to rescue people from slavery, but someone else will be enslaved in their place if slaveholders aren’t prosecuted. In 2012, we helped get more than 100 traffickers arrested.

Reason 3: We help slaves take action to free themselves. We don’t tell people what to do, we empower people in slavery to organize and decide for themselves if, how and when it’s safe to make a break. Watch video of an actual raid. See how community education and organizing leads to freedom.

Reason 4: We teach vulnerable people how to prevent trafficking. By helping villagers form vigilance committees — like a neighborhood watch for traffickers — people can prevent the spread of slavery. In 2012, we trained 14,000 people, and we’re on track to make that target this year too.

Reason 5: Fighting slavery isn’t depressing; it’s joyful! Watch our new Faces of Freedom video, where you’ll see the difference that freedom makes in the lives of slavery survivors.

Reason 6: We fight trafficking in 600-700 communities in six trafficking hot spot countries worldwide. Working in partnership with about 20 local community-based organizations, FTS is combating slavery where it is worst.

Reason 7: We teach government officials what they can do to fight slavery. In 2012, we reached more than 1,500 officials. Slavery is illegal everywhere, so one way to combat it is to get government officials to vigorously enforce existing laws. Officials can also direct economic and educational resources to marginalized communities — which will make people less vulnerable to slavery.

Reason 8: Our front line experts are from the countries where they work, so they are highly motivated to improve life for their neighbors. Watch our new video where our country directors explain why they’ve joined the anti-slavery movement: Passionate About Freedom.

Reason 9: Slavery can be ended. Forever. But only if we act together! Slavery has been around for thousands of years, and it’s been illegal for decades in some countries and for more than a century in others. But we need to finish the job. That means businesses must not profit from slavery, vulnerable people must become resistant to slavery, and governments must not ignore slavery. What’s your part? Simple: spread the word and donate to Free the Slaves.

Reason 10: We get results! Slaves freed & traffickers jailed. We’re moving beyond raising awareness about slavery. We’re doing the job of helping people break free — and stay free. Join us!