Google Donates $11.5 To Fight Global Slavery
December 15, 2011

Google Donates $11.5 To Fight Global Slavery

Google announced on Wednesday that it is donating $11.5 million to several organizations working to end the modern-day slavery of some 27 million people throughout the world.

The donation is believed to be the biggest-ever corporate grant to the advocacy, intervention and rescue of people forced to work or provide sex against their will.

The company said it selected organizations with proven records in fighting slavery.

“Many people are surprised to learn there are more people trapped in slavery today than any time in history,” said Jacquelline Fuller, Google´s director of charitable giving and advocacy.

"The good news is that there are solutions."

Google chose the Washington-based International Justice Mission to lead the efforts.  The human rights organization, which works globally to rescue victims of slavery and sexual exploitation, will collaborate with Polaris Project, Slavery Footprint and a few smaller organizations for the multi-year effort to rescue the enslaved.

The coalition will also work towards better infrastructure and resources for anti-slavery enforcement agencies abroad, and will work to raise awareness in the United States while helping other countries draft anti-slavery legislation.

"Each year we focus some of our annual giving on meeting direct human need," Fuller said.

"Google chose to spotlight the issue of slavery this year because there is nothing more fundamental than freedom."

Gary Haugen, president of the International Justice Mission, said the coalition would focus on three initiatives: A $3.5 million intervention project to combat forced labor in India; a $4.5 million advocacy campaign in India to educate and protect the vulnerable; and a $1.8 million plan to mobilize Americans on behalf of millions throughout the world currently at risk of slavery or waiting for rescue.

The remaining $1.7 million will be given to smaller organizations working to fight slavery.

"It's hard for most Americans to believe that slavery and human trafficking are still massive problems in our world," Haugen said.

"Google's support now makes it possible for IJM to join forces with two other leading organizations so we can bring to bear our unique strengths in a united front."

The U.S. initiative, which kicks off Wednesday in Washington, will focus on improved legislation to protect vulnerable children and adults in the U.S.   It will also work towards achieving greater accountability and transparency in the U.S. supply chain by retailers and manufacturers to ensure products are "slave-free."

The trafficking of women for the sex trade is common in major U.S. cities, with some illegal immigrants being forced to work in sweatshops, as domestic servants or on farms without pay under the threat of deportation.

The Google initiative is aimed at giving ordinary Americans steps to take to help abolish modern-day slavery, such as understanding how their own clothing or smartphones might contain fabrics or components manufactured by forced labor.

"Whether it's by calling the national human trafficking hotline, sending a letter to their senator, or using online advocacy tools, millions of Americans will be able to use their voices to ensure that ending this problem becomes a top priority," said Polaris Project director Bradley Myles., the company´s philanthropy arm, announced the anti-slavery effort as part of its $40 million end-of-year grants, which brings the Internet search giant´s charitable donations to more than $100 million this year.

The grants will also support science education, girls' education in the developing world and the use of technology for social good.

Slavery Footprint founder Justin Dillon said the Google grant would allow the group to move from "anecdote and emotion" to concrete action that could make tangible change.

"Having a company like Google recognize the value of our work marks a major turning point for the anti-slavery movement," he said.

Slavery Footprint gives consumers tools to determine whether slaves were used in the making of their goods.   The organization´s interactive Web site and mobile app is able to estimate how much of a user's lifestyle relies on forced labor.


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