The Walk Free Foundation has a unique business to business engagement strategy. Drawing on the standing of its founder, Andrew Forrest, who is Chairman of Fortescue Metals Group, the world’s fourth largest iron ore exporter, it engages in direct Chairman and CEO level discussions on efforts big business can take to eradicate slavery.
As a trusted private sector partner, Mr Forrest can speak frankly about the challenges business faces in eradicating modern slavery in an environment of increasingly dispersed supply chains. The business engagement strategy is used to bring business together to work through these challenges and develop solutions that will work.
While much of this work happens behind the scenes and requires confidentiality to be successful, Mr Forrest also engages on the topic publicly during major forums involving senior business executives and chief procurement officers.
Efforts to combat modern slavery have been hampered by a severe lack of funding. There are hundreds of groups working to prevent and eradicate slavery, but almost all of them survive on shoe-string budgets. This has led to one of the great tragedies and failings of our time: we know there are proven ways to liberate and reintegrate people living in slavery, however, there is only funding to help a small fraction of the 29 million people currently living in slavery. The Global Fund to End Slavery seeks to change this.
The Fund aims to scale proven anti-slavery interventions in high prevalence slavery countries. It will be a multi-stakeholder organisation that will bring together all the actors critical to solving the problem, including governments, the private sector, civil society and survivors of modern slavery. While raising unprecedented levels of capital, it will also apply a business-like empirical rigour to ensure funds are directed towards those interventions proven to deliver the greatest impact.
Work on the Fund is already well underway. In 2014, it is preparing country strategies to identify the interventions that are proving most effective at reducing slavery and the detailed work required to establish a fund of this scale. It will be scaling its operations over the coming year in preparation for its launch in 2015, so please check the careers section regularly.
Walk Free Foundation has partnered with two leading anti-slavery activists and donors, Humanity United and the Legatum Foundation to create an ambitious seven-year effort to raise and deploy $100 million or more to combat modern slavery. The announcement was made at the annual Clinton Global Initiative in New York City, September 2013.
The Freedom Fund is based on the investment approach of its founders and aims to leverage donor funds to significantly increase the impact of existing and new anti-slavery initiatives and enable the scaling up of successful programs globally.
The Fund will target specific areas of high prevalence using a ‘Hotspot’ funding model. By coordinating the efforts and resources of actors throughout the sector, the Fund aims to measurably reduce modern slavery by 2020.
The Walk Free Foundation’s mission is to end modern slavery in our generation by mobilising a global activist movement, generating the highest quality research, enlisting business and raising unprecedented levels of capital to drive change in those countries and industries bearing the greatest responsibility for slavery today.
Walk Free Foundation is an initiative of