The charity arm of Google, Google.org, announced that it would be donating $11.5 million to coalitions and organizations devoted to ending modern-day slavery. The donation will go to advocacy, intervention, and the rescue of those being forced to work or provide sex against their will.
Leading the efforts to end modern-day slavery through Google.org is Washington, D.C.-based International Justice Mission, a human rights organization that works to rescue victims of slavery and sexual exploitation.
Google will also be partnering with the Polaris Project and Slavery Footprint to push for better anti-slavery enforcement agencies, better infrastructure, and more awareness in the United States on slave trafficking. The groups will be advocating for better anti-slavery laws and will be helping countries to draft such legislation.
“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 solutions.”
Fuller explained that, “Each year we focus some of our annual giving on meeting direct human need. Google chose to spotlight the issue of slavery this year because there is nothing more fundamental than freedom.”
The International Justice Mission will be focusing on three initiatives: intervention to fight forced labor in India, an advocacy campaign in India, and a plan to mobilize Americans on behalf of those at risk of slavery or waiting for rescue.
“It gives us a sense of what’s possible,” said IJM President Gary Haugen on the generous Google donation. “We can actually change the whole balance of resources between those who are the criminals, hurting human beings and those who are on the side of those who need freedom today.”
Through Google’s donation of $11.5 million, modern-day slavery will have a worthy opponent that by uses technology, education, science, and advocacy. Joining Google, IJM, Polaris Project, and Slavery Footprint in the fight to end slavery are ActionAid India, La Strada International, BBC World Service Trust, GoodWeave, Not for Sale, and Aide et Action.
Here are a few sad facts about modern-day slavery and why Google’s donation is so important:
Worldwide, there are nearly two million children in the commercial sex trade. (UNICEF)
There are an estimated 600,000 to 800,000 children, women and men trafficked across international borders annually. (U.S. Department of State)
Approximately 80 percent of human trafficking victims are women and girls, and up to 50 percent are minors. (U.S. Department of State)
The total market value of illicit human trafficking is estimated to be in excess of $32 billion. (U.N.)