Anti-slavery database seeks to curb $150bn global industry

The Global Modern Slavery Directory maps efforts to fight slavery and human trafficking, by detailing the more than 770 organisations working in the field

A database targeting the $150bn modern slavery and human trafficking industry will help connect victims to the support they need, charities behind the launch said.

Developed by three charities – Polaris, the Walk Free Foundation, and the Freedom Fund – the Global Modern Slavery Directory maps efforts to fight slavery and human trafficking, by detailing the more than 770 organisations working in the field.

“This directory will ensure slavery victims can locate the support they need, anti-slavery organisations can work together more effectively and funders can identify potential partners,” said Nick Grono, CEO of the Freedom Fund, a private-donor fund set up to fight slavery.

The directory is a searchable database of those working to fight the many different forms of modern slavery, a pervasive problem. The Freedom Fund estimates that there are more than 13 million people enslaved in some way in India alone.

“We define modern slavery in very functional terms,” said Grono. “It is depriving someone of their liberty through violence, or other coercion, for the purposes of exploiting them. There are three components. They are not free to leave, they are forced in one way, or another, and they are severely exploited.”

By mapping organisations around the world, the directory highlights regions and countries where services for victims are lacking or non-existent. Its backers also say that by enabling actors in the anti-human trafficking field to better connect with each other, the directory will make it easier for victims of human trafficking to access help.

Manav Seva Sansthan (SEVA), which is listed in the directory, works on the frontline of the human trafficking issue. The charity targets the trade during transit in the India-Nepal border region.

“The two countries share a huge free border,” said Rakesh Nair, SEVA’s general secretary. “Because of this, there is an influx of migration; many people are trafficked under the shadow of migration.”

Based in “lifeguard” centres along the border, SEVA’s volunteers -recruited from nearby Nepali villages - reach out to migrants as they transit through the border region and identify potential victims.

“We talk to them about human trafficking and what happens when people are trafficked,” explained Nair. “If we find a girl is alone and going to India, we talk to her, we explain, and suddenly she might realise that she is in a bad position.”

SEVA also helped to establish a regional cross-border anti-trafficking network, connecting with other organisations working in the same field. “Networking between different organisations, along the border and working in Nepal, they tell us about people being trafficked,” explained Nair. “We get many requests for help from destination locations too.

“The regional network was established for this purpose, as there were many organisations working individually before. We wanted to have a collective approach so we can help each other in addressing the issue.”

Organisations working in the sector are invited to submit their details for listing in the directory. The directory is available online at globalmodernslavery.org

Photo credit: Global Modern Slavery Directory