There are over 45 million people around the world held in some form of modern slavery. They may be held in debt bondage on fishing boats, held against their will as domestic servants or trapped in brothels by threats of violence. Though every country has declared it illegal, modern slavery in these and many other forms still exists today. Motivated by the abhorrence of this reality, the Walk Free initiative to end modern slavery was founded by Australian philanthropists, Andrew and Nicola Forrest and their daughter Grace, in 2012.
Funded by the Minderoo Foundation, Walk Free seeks to deliver a bottom up and top down approach including:
- Global grassroots community engagement;
- Policy and advocacy across sectors and governments;
- Country-by-country research and analysis of slavery systems;
- Faith-based community engagement; and
- Scaling of effective anti-slavery responses through partner investment.
Since establishment the initiative has increased global understanding of the issue and formed important partnerships across the world.
Through Walk Free, a global movement of over 8 million people has been incubated and united in action against modern slavery.
Under the Global Freedom Network, the Foundation facilitated the historical signing of a declaration between the major world faiths to publicly reject slavery. Work now continues to activate this commitment and mobilise millions of faith based communities around the world.
The Foundation has developed the world’s first all-encompassing global estimate of slavery with country by country data. The Global Slavery Index is updated regularly to provide an accessible resource to the anti-slavery community. It provides an analysis of government responses to unpack the local context of slavery systems.
Andrew and Nicola Forrest joined with Legatum Foundation and Humanity United to form the world’s first private donor driven fund to scale up effective anti-slavery interventions. Since 2014, the Freedom Fund has enabled the liberation of thousands of people and impacted hundreds of thousands of lives in slavery hotspots.
By implementing these efforts in parallel, and in partnership with others, the Foundation believes modern slavery can be defeated once and for all.
Learn more about the reality of modern slavery –