Editor’s Note: Many FTS contributors are embracing The Power of 12 by scheduling automatic monthly donations. This form of support is especially valuable since it helps us know that a regular level of funding is coming, avoiding the risks of boom-and-bust cycles in our ability to maintain a steady fight against slavery throughout the year. We asked one of our key monthly donors, filmmaker Amna Al Nowais, why she has chosen to become an ongoing contributor to FTS.
How did you learn that slavery still exists? How did you feel at that very moment?
I had some awareness that slavery still existed, but not that there were more people in slavery today—and treated worse—than during the time that it was actually legal. I first learned this when I saw Lisa Kristine’s TED talk. I felt sickened and overcome with emotions that prompted an urgency to act.
How did those feelings turn to action and a donation to Free the Slaves?
The suffering of an individual not only being stripped of their bodily freedom but also subdued, starved and psychologically altered day after endless day is unimaginable. Making a donation felt like a very natural next step after seeing and hearing what I just had, especially because of how easy it is to do so: on the spot, securely and within a few keystrokes on a laptop.
What do you say when you tell others that slavery still exists?
Slavery is not only still real, it is also a multibillion dollar business, enslaving up to an estimated 30 million people. It seeps into our day-to-day and can be in the supply chain that produces anything from our raw materials to the food on our plates. The numbers seem overwhelming, but we cannot forget that the illegality of slavery makes any practice of it a government matter; and that as consumers we have real leverage to eradicate it. Breakthroughs are a result of dominoes—small and consistent steps.
What do you say to others to inspire them to contribute to Free the Slaves?
As individuals we might feel overwhelmed by the spectrum of eradicating slavery, but Free the Slaves is already freeing thousands of people, as well as preventing further enslavement through region-specific and tried-and-tested methods that are only becoming better and better. All that is left for us as individuals who want to help is to support it. A donation goes a very long way and a regular donation makes it even more sustainable.
Why do you choose to donate to Free the Slaves when there are many other causes to support and organizations fighting slavery?
Over 80 percent of Free the Slaves funds go to programs and services. They are connected to local partner organizations everywhere they work and base every action they take on well thought-out calculations—from prevention to post-rescue. This maximizes their resources and reach and, therefore, most importantly, their sustained effectiveness.