By Bev Jordan Modern Slavery
For many people, slavery is something that used to happen long ago and yet figures from 2022 released by the International Labour Organisation state that 50 million people are trapped in modern slavery and that includes thousands of people in Australia.
Hills resident Anna Ruth was shocked when she first heard about modern slavery 15 years ago. “I was living in a bubble…I had no idea,” she said.
Modern slavery includes forced labour, debt bondage, human trafficking, deceptive recruitment, forced marriage, slavery, worst forms of child labour and servitude by Anti- Slavery Australia.
According to the Global Estimates of Modern Slavery, in 2022 20 million women were living in forced marriages, two out of five under the age of 18.
The Global Slavery Index also estimated that in 2018 there were 15,000 people in modern slavery in Australia with forced marriages and dowry abuse seen as a growing problem.
After years of wondering how she could help, Anna left her job in the corporate world and has made it her mission to end human trafficking and modern slavery with the foundation of the not-for-profit organisation: Freedom For Humanity. The aim is to end slavery through education by funding educational scholarships for people escaping slavery.
Anna herself has three degrees and says: I see education as the key to freedom … it empowers you to become resourceful and stand on your own two feet.
“It’s about creating a pathway and opportunities that otherwise they may never have had. By helping one person you are empowering a whole family and a whole community,” she said.
The scholarships are a way of supporting rescued victims to regain their independence and dignity through education and gainful employment.
Anna said the shocking figures about modern slavery reveal that estimated numbers have increased by 10 million people in just six years.
“One in four victims are children,” she said. Figures show that modern slavery is a 150 billion dollars business. High levels of slavery globally, are seen in the technology, fashion and construction industries.
Freedom For Humanity is committed to working with companies to ensure that their supply chains are not using child labour or slaves.
Anna says the organisation is always looking for volunteers and donations are always welcome towards scholarships.
Her most recent awareness event was held at The Hills Lodge to celebrate International Women’s Day. The keynote speaker was human rights activist Patricia Garcia who has spent more than 20 years working in some of the world’s most dangerous conflict zones including Afghanistan, Sudan and Burma.
The next event is – The Freedom for Humanity Gala Ball which will be held in Sydney on Thursday, June 22nd.
For more information about Freedom for Humanity visit freedomforhumanity.org.au