Just last week, The Independent reported that the US and UK have pledged millions for the largest-ever fund to fight against modern-day slavery. The Global Fund to End Modern Slavery consists of public-private partnership plans to develop a new $1.5 billion fund to coordinate a coherent, global strategy to address modern slavery.
Jean Baderschneider, CEO of the new global fund, emphasized the important role businesses play in the fight against modern-day slavery, calling it a “crime of economic opportunity.” Baderschneider highlights the need for a sustainable solution that will require a coherent global strategy and mobilization of resources commensurate with that strategy. This includes close engagement with the private sector as allies and partners. Addressed at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Switzerland on January 4th, 2018, The Global Fund to End Modern Slavery will collaborate across sectors and geographies with a focus on three core pillars: rule of law, business engagement and sustaining freedom.
As part of the initiative, The Stop Slavery Award has been created to galvanize corporate engagement. In line with this is a partnership with the Humanity United to rank the world’s top 300 companies based on their efforts to eradicate forced labour. The index will be called the Know the Chain—Stop Slavery Index.
According to the US Department of State, Modern Slavery includes anything from sex trafficking to forced labour. As the Huffington Post puts it, “Modern slavery is hiding in plain sight.” There are an estimated 20 to 30 million slaves across the world today. 161 countries remain affected by human trafficking, while the total yearly profit gained from human trafficking is a staggering $32 billion a year. In terms of profit, Human Trafficking is ranked as the 3rd largest international crime industry.
The Global Fund to End Modern Slavery is “a historic opportunity to equip global good intentions with a coherent strategy that could actually end slavery in our lifetimes,” said Gary Haugen, Chief Executive Officer of International Justice Mission, optimistically. Indeed, this represents the collective effort of the international community to tackle the new global challenges in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Though we are still a long way from eradicating modern slavery, this represents a significant step forward.