Women are at the core of the modern abolitionist movement, and can help end slavery by working together. That’s the key takeaway from the Women Ending Slavery Spreecast, which is now available online. The hour-long discussion unfolded last Friday to celebrate International Women’s Day 2014.

The Spreecast highlighted what slavery looks like today, what women are currently doing to end slavery, and how you can help women and children break free from this global injustice. Speakers included Free the Slaves Director of Programs Karen Stauss, Jessica Leslie of Vital Voices, Tina Frundt of Courtney’s House and actress and Free the Slaves supporter Virginia Williams.

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Jessica Leslie of Vital Voices and Karen Stauss at Free the Slaves speaking online as they open the “Women Ending Slavery” Spreecast. Photo: FTS/Hodges

Karen Stauss opened the discussion by describing how she has personally seen women organize and lead communities in the countries where Free the Slaves works. “This is not something that goes unseen or is invisible, women are actually impacting and changing lives,” she said.

Trafficking survivor Tina Frundt discussed how rescuing a victim goes “beyond the rescuing of a body.” She talked about the long-term psychological and medical attention that survivors receive at her survivor-led organization.

Actress/activist Virginia Williams noted that women must start to support one another by funneling their passion to end slavery in order to educate and inform those around them. “Women need to help women because when we come together, the impact will be overwhelming,” she said. “We can bring about healing in such a profound way.”

The Spreecast concluded with a Q&A session on how survivors are reintegrated into everyday life, and how spiritual/religious communities can get involved.

When asked what can people do today to make a difference, Karen urged contacting their U.S. Senators and U.S. House representative to encourage them to support bills HR 3344 and HR 1732/S 1823 which focus on strengthening the rights of trafficked children and requiring greater transparency in the recruitment of foreign workers.

It is time to follow these women’s examples and take action against modern-day slavery. As Virginia quoted Deepak Chopra: “Attention energizes, intention transforms.”

Become intentional. Visit the Free The Slaves website to see our slavery fact sheet, tip sheet for action, and other ways you can spread the word.  Or donate to our projects, which are moving women and girls from slavery to freedom in hot spots around the globe.  

Pope_Francis_2013_wikipediaNot many people would consider the pope to be a fighter, but if it is against human trafficking, then you can count Pope Francis in.

The National Catholic Bishops Conference of Brazil this week launched their 51st annual Brotherhood Campaign. This year, the 2014 Brotherhood Campaign’s theme is “Brotherhood and Human Trafficking.”

The campaign aims to raise awareness about the injustice of human trafficking by educating Brazilians and training “pastoral agents” on how to confront trafficking in their communities. Modern-day slavery is an urgent issue that needs be addressed in Brazil. According to The Global Slavery Index, Brazil has approximately 200,000 to 220,000 people trapped in slavery today.

1_0_778825Pope Francis sent his encouragement via letter for an Ash Wednesday campaign  kick-off, urging Brazilians in the next 40 days to try to be more aware of helping their fellow man to be free. He urged the mobilization of Brazilian society to “scourge human trafficking,” as it is “impossible to remain indifferent when one learns that there are human beings who are bought and sold like merchandise.”

The pope presented a call to action for people to make a “good examination of their conscience” by combating an injustice that permits humans to be seen as objects. He wrote that human dignity is the “same for all human beings: when I tread on the dignity of another, I tread on my own.”

Pope Francis encouraged Brazil to commit to the fight against human trafficking, because it is the “most effective base to re-establish human dignity.”

To find out more about modern-day slavery in Brazil, what FTS is doing about it, and what you can do to help end it, visit the Free the Slaves website.

To read the full translated text of Pope Francis’ letter to the 2014 Brotherhood Campaign click here.



The global celebration of International Women’s Day on Saturday, March 8th serves as both a reminder of how far we’ve come and how far we still have to go. Today, women are at the forefront of the global abolition movement. But unfortunately, women and girls represent 55 percent of modern slavery’s victims.

At Free the Slaves, we are dedicated to ending slavery for everyone, everywhere. That’s why I’d like to invite you to join us for a special “Women Ending Slavery” Spreecast, where you can chat online with women leaders of the anti-slavery movement, and with a sex trafficking survivor, about the state of women and girls in slavery today. Learn what you can do to end the trafficking of women.

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Join Free the Slaves Director of Programs Karen Stauss, our Haiti and Ghana Director Christy Gillmore, Tina Frundt of Courtney’s House and actress/abolitionist Virginia Williams for an interactive and empowering hour on Friday, March 7th at 2 p.m. ET. They will discuss the different forms of slavery that women and girls are subjected to, what is being done to help them, and how you can get involved in helping women break free.

For example, when women organize to drive slaveholders and traffickers from their communities, their daughters can be rescued, returned home and enrolled in school. They can form self-help groups, providing microfinance and vocational opportunities for women and financial security for families. Now, that is something to celebrate.

You can find all the details, RSVP and watch the Spreecast here. Please share this announcement with your friends, family, neighbors and colleagues to spread the word.


12 years posterLast night’s best picture Oscar win for 12 Years a Slave was more that a tribute to powerful filmmaking. And the evening’s final acceptance speeches were more than ritual thanks to Hollywood insiders. The highpoint of the Oscar telecast became an awareness-raising mega-moment, alerting tens of millions of viewers that slavery didn’t end with the Civil War.

“I am dedicating this award to all the people who have endured slavery,” said 12 Years a Slave director Steve McQueen, “and the 21 million people who still suffer slavery today.”

“Everyone deserves not just to survive, but to live,” he said. “This is the most important legacy of Solomon Northup.”

12 Years a Slave is the true story of a free African-American in New York who was tricked in the 1840s into taking a job away from home, then trafficked to slavery in the South. Solomon Northop was freed more than a decade later with help from anti-slavery activists.

“It’s been an absolute privilege to work on Solomon’s story,” said Brad Pitt, accepting the Oscar with McQueen. Pitt was one of the film’s producers, and he played the Canadian abolitionist who helped Northup break free.

McQueen also thanked historian Sue Eakin, who rescued Northup’s story from obscurity. His original manuscript was a bestseller in 1853 and helped America move closer to outlawing slavery. But it had been lost to history until Eakin rescued one of the few remaining copies and restored it in 1968.

“She gave her life’s work to preserving this book,” McQueen noted.

With three Oscar wins — best picture, best adapted screenplay and best supporting actress — 12 Years a Slave hits store shelves this week as a DVD and digital download. If you and your friends haven’t seen it, consider hosting a house party to screen the film and discuss how slavery has managed to persist in the world today. You can download the Free the Slaves house party guide for tips about how to get organized. Download our slavery fact sheet for some eye-opening statistics.

History can shape the future. Let your community know that helping people to overcome slavery isn’t just a thing of the past.

Make Your Mark Today to END IT

Shine a Light on Slavery Day has arrived!

Today we come together to give voice to a conversation that expresses the power of freedom. Today is the day to make anti-slavery awareness go viral.

Join the END IT campaign. Draw a red X on your hand and share a photo of it on your social media outlets using the hashtags #enditmovement and #freetheslaves.

Slavery cannot be stopped until people acknowledge this global injustice. Awareness can lead to action. Free the Slaves has joined nine other Coalition Partners in this year’s END IT campaign to prevent modern-day slavery.

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So, draw the red X, donate to Free the Slaves, wear an END IT shirt or hat, use the FTS guide to plan a fundraising event, and use your influence to spread the word that you won’t stand for slavery.

You have a voice, and you can use it today to make a difference.

To find out more about modern-day slavery and what you can do to help end it, download and share the Free the Slaves Take Action Card.