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Ending modern slavery at the forefront of new philanthropic donation

The global drive to end modern slavery will continue with greater commitment than ever before, following today’s announcement of an additional $75 million in funding to the Walk Free Foundation towards fighting slavery in all of its forms.

The contribution is part of a $400 million donation by Andrew and Nicola Forrest which was announced in the presence of the Prime Minister, the Hon. Malcolm Turnbull MP, at Parliament House.

There are estimated to be 45.8 million people trapped in slavery around the world, more than at any other time in history. Grace Forrest, the founding director of the Walk Free Foundation, said modern slavery continued today in every country in the world and illegally generated an estimated 150 billion dollars globally. “Modern slavery is one of the greatest man-made problems facing humanity today, and each and every one of us have a role to play in its final abolition,” Grace said.

Professor Kevin Bales, Professor of Contemporary Slavery at the University of Nottingham and a co-author of the Global Slavery Index, welcomed the new funding and said it underlined the importance of the issue. “The systematic removal of people’s freedom, and the physical, emotional and sexual abuse that often goes with it, is something that we should all care about. Modern slavery is a massive and disturbing challenge and I am so pleased to see further support being given to addressing it,” Professor Bales said.

Fiona David, a lawyer and criminologist who is the Executive Director of Global Research at Walk Free and the lead author of the Global Slavery Index, said measurement has been critical in enabling a concerted response to modern slavery globally. Understanding the prevalence at a country by country level is fundamental in moving towards a world without this crime against humanity.

“Evidence enables action. Through the considerable investment of the Walk Free Foundation in the Global Slavery Index, we now have a much clearer picture of where modern slavery occurs, and how this crime affects every day people and even taints some of the goods and services that we all buy. This provides a robust and rigorous basis which informs and drives debate on the need for reforms of laws, policies and operating procedures to tackle modern slavery in all its forms,” Ms David said.

The Walk Free Foundation works in partnership with governments, businesses, religious faiths and international institutions, such as the International Organisation for Migration, and other leading human rights and anti-slavery groups, such as The Freedom Fund, The Global Fund to End Slavery and Freedom United.

The Walk Free Foundation has been pushing for legislative change in Australia and the introduction of an Australian Modern Slavery Act, and congratulates the Australian Government on the Parliamentary Inquiry into this which is currently under way.

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