Children are especially vulnerable. When a parent dies, or a financial shock hits, traffickers strike. They typically offer “temporary” work, usually far from home, so a child can earn money to support their family. Parents are told it will be good for their child: the job will teach valuable skills and instill a strong work ethic. But once the child leaves the realtive safety of their home community, the brutality of child slavery becomes clear. They are malnourished, mistreated and prevented from communicating with relatives.
Free the Slaves works strategically at the community level to educate residents about gender rights and empower women and girls to exercise those rights to reduce the risk of enslavement.
Our field programs include:
- Creation of community vigilance committees to build slavery resistance, often comprised and led by women
- Education on the rights of women under international and local laws
- Vocational and microenterprise skills training to reduce vulnerability and ensure sustainable freeedom for slavery survivors
- Establishment of savings and loan associations at village and neighborhood levels, often run by women, so individuals can borrow from each other instead of slaveholders during times of crisis
- Transitional schooling for girls coming out of slavery so they can re-enter public schools at at age-appropriate level
Community Liberation Initiative
The Free the Slaves goal is to integrate anti-trafficking strategies into international development programs worldwide, just as gender strategies are already integrated into many government-funded projects. Learn more here. The initiative is based on our community-based model for fighting slavery (learn more here).
See case studies of children successfully coming out of slavery in our gallery of success stories here.