Of the 40 million people trapped in modern slavery today, 70 percent are women and girls. Every day across the globe, millions of women and girls are used, controlled and exploited for commercial or personal gain – their vulnerability amplified by a combination of factors including poverty, conflict, displacement and harmful gender and social norms. They are trafficked into commercial sexual exploitation or forced marriage, kept in servitude as domestic workers in private homes, forced to work in exploitative conditions in factories or bonded into agricultural labour. They suffer terrible violence and are denied their basic rights and freedoms.
The Freedom Fund has been identifying and investing in the most effective frontline efforts to eradicate slavery in high prevalence areas. Across ‘hotspots’ in Ethiopia, India and Nepal they are supporting frontline NGOs to tackle the risks and vulnerabilities that communities face, including the specific vulnerabilities faced by women and girls. From building rights awareness and keeping girls in school, to opening up new economic opportunities and improving conditions in the workplace, their local partners are working to help women and girls protect themselves from slavery, address the root causes of their exploitation, recover from trauma, prosecute those who abuse them and activate governments to take responsibility. Their recent report “Her freedom, her voice: Insights from the Freedom Fund’s work with women and girls“, summarises key lessons from their work, identifies promising approaches to tackle this scourge and highlights priorities for further research and investment.
There is a pressing need for more research and knowledge sharing on the most effective frontline strategies to address the gender dimensions of slavery. It is only by improving common understanding of the root causes of vulnerability, and the strategies necessary for addressing these, that progress can be made in the fight against trafficking and slavery.
This will be a lively exchange with policymakers, investors and practitioners – including one of Freedom Fund’s local partners who will share experiences from her work with women and girls in northern India. The discussion will be moderated by Isabelle Arradon, Director of Research & Special Adviser on Gender at the International Crisis Group.
Please RSVP by Wednesday 14 March, to [email protected].