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Slavery is still alive and well in this day and age, and Google is breaking a little bread to try to stop it:

Tech giant Google announced Wednesday it is donating $11.5 million to several coalitions fighting to end the modern-day slavery of some 27 million people around the world. In what is believed to be the largest ever corporate grant devoted to the advocacy, intervention and rescue of people being held, forced to work or provide sex against their will, Google said it chose organizations with proven records in combating slavery.

“Many people are surprised to learn there are more people trapped in slavery today than any time in history,” said Jacquelline Fuller, director of charitable giving and advocacy for Google. “The good news is that there are solutions.” It will partner with Polaris Project and Slavery Footprint and a handful of smaller organizations for the multi-year effort to rescue the enslaved, push for better infrastructure and resources for anti-slavery enforcement agencies overseas, as well as raise awareness here in the United States and help countries draft anti-slavery legislation. “Each year we focus some of our annual giving on meeting direct human need,” Fuller said. “Google chose to spotlight the issue of slavery this year because there is nothing more fundamental than freedom.”

Gary A. Haugen, president of the International Justice Mission, said the coalition would focus on three initiatives: A $3.5 million intervention project to fight forced labor in India; a $4.5 million advocacy campaign in India to educate and protect the vulnerable; and a $1.8 million plan to mobilize Americans on behalf of the millions currently at risk of slavery or waiting for rescue around the world. The remaining $1.7 million will go to several smaller organizations working to combat slavery.

“It’s hard for most Americans to believe that slavery and human trafficking are still massive problems in our world,” said Haugen. “Google’s support now makes it possible for IJM to join forces with two other leading organizations so we can bring to bear our unique strengths in a united front.” The trafficking of women for the sex trade is common in big American cities. Some illegal immigrants find themselves forced to work in sweatshops, in private homes as domestic servants or on farms without pay under the threat of deportation.

The new effort will launch initiatives that ordinary Americans can take to help abolish modern-day slavery, such as understanding how their own clothing or smart phones might contain fabrics or components manufactured by forced labor. “Whether it’s by calling the national human trafficking hotline, sending a letter to their senator, or using online advocacy tools, millions of Americans will be able to use their voices to ensure that ending this problem becomes a top priority,” said Bradley Myles, executive director of Polaris Project.

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