2016 Award: Innovative Group Uses Radio Show to Fight Bonded Labor Slavery in India
Samarthan, a leading grassroots organization in the Indian states of Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, fights poverty and bonded-labor slavery by strengthening local communities. Their work to bolster civil society is a crucial aspect of socio-economic development, securing the rights of oppressed people, and establishing sustainable structures of freedom. Samarthan, the Free the Slaves 2016 Freedom Award winner, brings a message of hope to vulnerable villagers. Read More>
The Freedom Awards Mission
Free the Slaves has periodically honored survivors, activists, and organizations that demonstrate outstanding courage, innovation, and dedication in the fight to end slavery. Our award winners are setting the standard for successful, sustainable anti-slavery initiatives. By generating public recognition for outstanding achievement, the awards offer inspiration and boost resources for the movement.
In 2016, Free the Slaves has awarded a U.S. $10,000 prize to an organization registered India or Nepal that is implementing an innovative scalable approach to ending bonded labor in India or Nepal. A scalable approach is a model that holds the potential to be spread geographically or adopted by a broader range of actors. The 2016 Free the Slaves Freedom Award is made possible by a grant from the Pegasus Freedom Foundation.
Previous Freedom Award Winners
Timea Nagy | Canada
Timea Nagy answered an ad to work temporarily in Canada. But when she arrived, she realized she had been tricked. After months as a sex slave, she devised a daring escape. She then founded Walk With Me to support other victims and train Canadian cops to recognize and respond to sex slavery. Watch her profile video.
Ruth Vilela | Brazil
As Brazil’s secretary of labor inspection, Ruth Vilela created the world’s most innovative anti-slavery SWAT squad, which raids farms and sweatshops to free thousands every year. She created the Dirty List to quarantine companies where slavery is found and the National Pact to prompt companies to root out slavery in supply chains. Watch her profile video.
Josefa Condori Quispe | Peru
Josefa Condori Quispe left her small village in Peru at age 9 to work as a maid in Lima. After spending much of her life as a house slave, she managed to get an education and escape domestic servitude. She founded Yanapanakusun to fight the root causes of slavery, and she runs a shelter for young slavery survivors. Watch her profile video.
Tina Frundt | United States
No little girl dreams of becoming a sex slave when she grows up. That’s why Tina Frundt braves dangerous streets in the middle of the night to reach out to teens who are trapped. “I’m a survivor of sex trafficking,” Tina says, “and, quite honestly, nobody did this for me.” Read more | Watch her profile video
Sina Vann | Cambodia
JEEVIKA | India
The farm fields of India are one of the world’s worst spots for slavery. Trapped by phony debts, entire families have been enslaved for generations. JEEVIKA is a group that helps slaves learn their rights and free themselves from bondage. Slaves discover freedom is possible. Read more | Watch their profile video.
Roger Plant | U.K.
Veero | Pakistan
Shramajivee Mahila Samity (SMS) | India
James Kofi Annan | Ghana
James Kofi Annan was sold into slavery at age 6 and worked 17-hour days on fishing boats. He escaped, taught himself to read, opened a school, and now rescues child slaves from fishing villages. He does for others what he wishes someone could have done for him. Read more | Watch his profile video | Watch him rescue children from slavery.
Amihan Abueva | Philippines
Amihan Abueva’s laugh makes everyone smile, even children who’ve survived sex trafficking. For more than 20 years, she’s helped survivors recover, helped communities become vigilant, and demanded action from governments around the globe to stop children from being sexually exploited. Read more | Watch her profile video
Friends of Orphans | Uganda
The founder of Friends of Orphans calls himself a child born of trouble. Ricky Richard Anywar was abducted and forced into slavery as a child soldier. Improbably, despite his self-described “interrupted childhood,” he escaped and turned his freedom into a lifeline for others. Read more | Watch the profile video.
Comissão Pastoral da Terra CPT (Pastoral Land Commission) and Reporter Brasil | Brazil
They’ve helped thousands walk free, and they’ve harnessed the power of the marketplace to make slave holding unprofitable. CPT provides sanctuary for runaway slaves and alerts police to arrest traffickers. Reporter Brasil investigates each case in order to remove slave-tainted goods from corporate supply chains. Read more | Watch their profile video