9 Best Charities That Fight to End Forced Labor (Complete 2022 List)

9 Best Charities That Fight to End Forced Labor (Complete 2022 List)

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Diana Stancu

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Approximately 25 million people, or 60% of modern slavery victims worldwide, are trapped in situations of forced labor. Furthermore, economic and social conditions that arise from military conflicts, globalization, poverty, or migration continue to expose vulnerable populations to labor trafficking. Fortunately, charities worldwide are working tirelessly to change these conditions holistically to prevent and stop labor exploitation. So we had to ask: What are the best charities that fight to end forced labor?

The best charities that fight to end forced labor are Anti-Slavery International, Verité, and Freedom United. Charities like the Fair Labor Association, the Solidarity Center, and the International Labor Rights Forum fight to protect workers’ rights worldwide. 

Whether you want to protect exploited workers worldwide, ensure that companies employ proper labor standards, or advocate for policies that advance workers’ rights, there is a charity for you. Keep reading to learn more about what the best charities that fight to end forced labor are all about, how they work, and what would be your best way to make a contribution.

Related: Did you know that you can make Amazon donate 0.5% of your purchases to a charitable organization of your choice. Sign up at smile.amazon.com, select the charity you want your donations to go to, and make Amazon donate a part of your purchases to your chosen charity at no extra cost to you.

Here’s What All the Best Charities That Fight to End Forced Labor Have in Common

The charities on this list were chosen based on their mission, impact, transparency ratings, and achievements. They operate all over the world, from North America to Asia, fighting against forced labor and improving worker’s rights.

All the charities below collaborate with governments worldwide to advocate for policies that protect workers’ rights at the federal level. Furthermore, they engage trade unions and workers to participate in decision-making processes and voice their needs. Many of the charities also train companies and workers to understand labor rights and standards. In addition, some charities rescue and rehabilitate exploited workers and help them find safe employment. Yet, all these charities share the same goal; to prevent and eliminate forced labor. 

These Are the 9 Best Charities That Fight to End Forced Labor

Below are our favorite charities that fight to end forced labor:

  • Anti-Slavery International 
  • Verité 
  • Freedom United
  • Polaris 
  • International Justice Mission 
  • International Labor Rights Forum
  • Fair Labor Association
  • Solidarity Center 
  • Global Fairness Initiative

(At the end of this article we’ll also share our six-step approach on how you can select the best charity to support.)

Anti-Slavery International: Freedom for Everyone, Everywhere, Always

Anti-Slavery International was founded in 1839 by Thomas Clarkson and other abolitionists to campaign against slavery worldwide. Today, they free victims of modern slavery and empower them to voice their rights. 

Their impact and transparency ratings: According to their financial report, Anti-Slavery International spent 85% of their total income on programs combating modern slavery, with 33% of the budget for Asia, 32% for Africa, and 20% for Europe.

We focus on achieving the long-term changes that are necessary to end slavery and secure freedom worldwide.

Anti-Slavery International

What they do: Anti-Slavery International tackles the root causes of forced labor and other forms of modern slavery worldwide. They do this by partnering with survivors and local governments to change trade practices and power systems that allow forced labor to exist. They also partner with transnational organizations to implement treaties and legal bodies that protect workers’ rights in global supply chains. In addition, they campaign with survivors and research with activists to strengthen victims’ voices and achieve long-term changes. 

What they’ve achieved: Since their inception, Anti-Slavery International has assisted forced labor victims from tens of industries, including the cocoa, cotton, and agricultural sectors. Over the years, they have developed programs to reduce bonded labor in India and the textile industry in Uzbekistan. For example, in 2020, together with 72 Uyghur rights groups and over 100 civil society organizations, they launched the Coalition to End Forced Labor in the Uyghur Region to protect workers’ rights. Furthermore, their anti-forced labor program in Nepal rescued 1,500 victims and rehabilitated 215 victims in 2021 alone. 

Ways to contribute: You can donate to Anti-Slavery International on their website. You can also contribute by fundraising, volunteering, or joining their advocacy campaigns

Verité: Fair Labor. Worldwide.

Verité was founded in 1995 by a group of professionals to highlight labor rights violations in supply chains and help workers and businesses to remedy them. Today, they work across sectors and industries to develop tools, programs, and research that fight forced labor worldwide.

Their impact and transparency ratings: Verité has a 100% encompass rating for Finance & Accountability from Charity Navigator

We provide the knowledge and tools to eliminate the most serious labor and human rights abuses in global supply chains.

Verité

What they do: Verité combats forced labor by improving work conditions across multiple supply chains worldwide. They do this by conducting risk assessments and audits that give insight into supply chain processes to identify worker abuse. They also research key issues in supply chain sourcing to find patterns of forced labor. Furthermore, they guide companies to understand and meet labor standards and international norms on fair and legal working conditions. In addition, they provide training programs that empower workers to raise awareness and create conditions for ethical employment.

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, Verité has improved working conditions in multiple sectors worldwide, such as the palm oil, forestry, cocoa production, and seafood industries. For example, their Emerging Markets Research Program has created a ranking of 26 countries that comply with 42 indicators of labor standards. In 2011, they also developed a global program of Agricultural Labor Practices that improved working conditions for 2.5 million people working on over 450,000 farms across 30 countries. Furthermore, in 2018, they created the “CUMULUS Forced Labor Screen” which helps companies verify if their supply chains are using forced labor

Ways to contribute: You can donate to Verité through their website. You can also get involved by subscribing to their newsletter or applying for a job

Freedom United: Let’s End Modern Slavery Together

Freedom United was founded in 2012 by a group of professionals to rally support for public campaigns that fight to stop human trafficking. Today, they are the world’s largest community dedicated to ending modern slavery, including forced labor.

Their impact and transparency ratings: Freedom United has an 80% encompass score for Finance & Accountability from Charity Navigator. They also hold the Gold Seal of Transparency from GuideStar

We inform, mobilize and unite a large global community. We make the public stakeholders by creating power for the change needed to end forced labor.”

Freedom United

What they do: Freedom United works with partner organizations and engages individual supporters to end forced labor worldwide. They do this by providing their activists with educational tools and ways to advocate, so they can change the conditions that allow labor trafficking to exist. Moreover, they empower supporters to take action by signing petitions and exploring field reports from the charity’s legislative campaigns. For this, they run a Freedom Map, which provides educational resources for hot spots of forced labor and details the charity’s actions to halt them.

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, Freedom United has taken over 18 million advocacy actions against forced labor in 50 different industries across 108 worldwide campaigns. Uniting more than 1000 activists and 113 corporate allies from 195 countries, the charity engages over 200 million people every month. For example, in 2021, their supporters gathered over 100,000 petition signatures that helped implement an international measure to tackle forced labor in 50 countries. Moreover, in 2022, they promoted 15 active petitions for cases of forced labor and 35 against modern slavery worldwide. 

Ways to contribute: You can donate to Freedom United on their website. You can also fundraise or follow new petitions and accomplishments on their Facebook or Twitter accounts. 

Polaris: A World Without Slavery

Polaris, formerly known as the Polaris Project, was founded in 2002 by Derek Ellerman and Katherine Chon to combat and prevent human trafficking in the US. Today, they are one of the leading organizations fighting against forced labor by empowering communities.

Their impact and transparency ratings: Charity Navigator gives Polaris a 3-star rating, with a 100% score for Accountability & Transparency. They also hold the Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

We are tackling the underlying patterns of exploitation so that we prevent trafficking before it starts, and fundamentally change the power dynamics that allow it to happen.

Polaris

What they do: Polaris works to end forced labor and protects the rights of immigrant workers in the US, particularly farmworkers with temporary visas. For example, they advocate to change the laws of migrant worker visa programs which bind them to one employer. They also educate migrant workers about illegal fees and fraudulent recruitment while helping them advocate for their rights. In addition, they conduct research to prevent labor exploitation and operate the US National Human Trafficking Hotline to rescue forced labor victims. They also enforce accountability measures that fight to change employers’ standards of behavior towards workers. 

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, Polaris has continued to combat forced labor in the US. For example, from 2015 to 2020, they assisted 4,800 victims of labor trafficking who held legal work visas in the US. Furthermore, in 2020, they supported over 1,000 victims of labor exploitation and invested nearly $2 million in strategic initiatives against labor abuse. In the same year, they developed an interactive toolkit to help migrant agricultural workers understand their rights and protect their livelihoods

Ways to contribute: You can donate to Polaris directly on their website. You can also sign their petitions to protect workers against labor trafficking or to urge legislative transparency when hiring migrant workers.

International Justice Mission: End Slavery in Our Lifetime

The International Justice Mission was founded in 1997 by Gary Haugen to rescue vulnerable people from violence and bring criminals to justice. Today, they are a global organization fighting to prevent and combat human trafficking, including forced labor. 

Their impact and transparency ratings: The International Justice Mission has a 3-star rating from Charity Navigator and holds the Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

We’re working all around the world to free people trapped in instances of modern slavery.

The International Justice Mission

What they do: The International Justice Mission combats forced labor by partnering with local authorities to rescue victims. They also ensure that governments provide aftercare services. In addition, the charity files police reports against traffickers and give legal support to survivors during trials. Furthermore, they provide victims with individualized aftercare plans, which include psychological counseling, vocational training, and employment opportunities. They also mentor law enforcement and advocate with legislators to implement policies against labor trafficking.

What they’ve achieved: Today, the International Justice Mission works to prevent and eliminate forced labor in India, South East Asia, and Ghana. For example, in 2016, they developed a two-year rehabilitation program for bonded labor survivors, which helped over 1,000 people find safe employment. Moreover, in 2019, they rescued 1,400 victims of labor abuse from South East Asia and rehabilitated 66 survivors. In the same year, they restrained 60 suspected criminals and convicted 47 perpetrators

Ways to contribute: You can donate to the International Justice Mission directly on their website. You can also contribute by volunteering, fundraising, or by participating in their advocacy campaigns.

International Labor Rights Forum: Dignity and Justice for Workers Worldwide

The International Labor Rights Forum was founded in 1986 by a group of social reformers to fight for the rights of workers in international trade. Today, they enforce systemic changes within trade systems, government institutions, and industry supply chains to strengthen workers’ voices. 

Their impact and transparency ratings: The International Labor Rights Forum has a 3-star rating from Charity Navigator, with a 100% score for Culture & Community. They also hold the Gold Seal of Transparency from GuideStar

We believe that all workers have the right to a safe working environment where they are treated with dignity and respect, and where they can organize freely to defend and promote their rights and interests.

The International Labor Rights Forum

What they do: The International Labor Rights Forum fights to end abusive working conditions in low-wage industries by advocating for policies that hold global corporations accountable for labor rights violations in their supply chains. They also advance legislation that protects workers and strengthens their ability to advocate for their rights. Furthermore, they build partnerships worldwide through transnational campaigns where they consult both workers and consumers to implement labor standards and prevent exploitation. 

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, the International Labor Rights Forum has successfully fought to end forced labor in 8 industries, including the cotton, palm oil, and tobacco industry. They have also conducted campaigns in the cocoa industry in Ghana and textile production in Bangladesh to protect workers’ rights and enforce labor standards. In addition, they have imposed policies that reduced the exploitation of the Uyghur population in China and cotton production in Uzbekistan. For example, in 2017, they funded $700,000 in campaigns against forced labor and nearly $1,2 million in programs advancing workers’ rights in supply chains worldwide. 

Ways to contribute: You can donate to the International Labor Rights Forum on their website. You can also contribute by subscribing to their newsletter or participating in their awareness events.

Fair Labor Association: Promoting Human Rights at Work 

The Fair Labor Association was founded in 1999 by a task force created by President Bill Clinton to promote adherence to international and national labor laws. Today, they are a leading voice in developing solutions for labor rights violations.

Their impact and transparency ratings: Charity Navigator gives the Fair Labor Association a 100% encompass rating for Finance & Accountability. 

Our unique model of collaboration builds expertise and drives innovation to improve business policies and practices that benefit workers around the world.

The Fair Labor Association

What they do: The Fair Labor Association fights to end forced labor by creating accountable supply chains in the agriculture and apparel manufacturing industries. They do this by evaluating business practices against international labor standards to ensure they advance the rights of workers worldwide. They also conduct Fair Labor Investigations to address significant and persistent noncompliance with the charity’s Fair Labor Code. In addition, they audit the supply chains of member organizations to ensure they commit to transparency in labor practices. 

What they’ve achieved: Today, the Fair Labor Association stands for the rights of nearly 5 million workers from 4,750 facilities across 84 countries worldwide. They have also developed the FLA Accreditation to evaluate corporate systems and protect workers in global supply chains. By 2019, they had accredited 31 companies where they conduct almost 150 factory assessments each year. In 2019, they also helped companies turn 100 labor and human rights standards into practical policies to improve workers’ lives. Furthermore, in the same year, they developed a global initiative for responsible recruitment that supported workers from 145 companies

Ways to contribute: You can become a corporate member of the Fair Labor Association to help create responsible supply chains. You can also contribute by applying for a job or attending their public events.

Solidarity Center: Promoting Worker Rights Worldwide

The Solidarity Center was founded in 1997 by the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations to help the working-poor achieve prosperity in the global economy. Today, they are the largest US-based international worker rights organization, partnering directly with forced labor victims to improve their livelihoods.

Their impact and transparency ratings: The Solidarity Center has a 90% encompass rating for Finance & Accountability from Charity Navigator

We value the dignity of work and workers. And at our core is every worker’s right to solve issues through collective action and to form unions.

The Solidarity Center

What they do: The Solidarity Center combats forced labor by involving trade unions in decision-making and policy implementations, while also helping them campaign for their rights. The charity also collaborates with NGOs and local governments to advocate for laws that prevent labor exploitation. Moreover, they protect vulnerable migrant workers in global supply chains by educating them about labor laws and workplace rights. They also support domestic workers by advancing legislation that ensures they are treated and paid legally.

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, the Solidarity Center has continued to give critical help to forced labor victims worldwide. For example, in 2021, they worked with more than 900 worker unions and NGOs to develop programs that reached over 1 million survivors and activists across 60 countries. In the same year, they invested $13 million in educational and protective programs for exploited workers in Asia. They also funded $6,4 million in Africa and $6,3 million in the Americas for projects advancing responsible supply chains. In addition, they launched a campaign urging governments to address wage theft against migrant workers in South East Asia. 

Ways to contribute: You can donate to the Solidarity Center through their website. You can also contribute by joining their team, fundraising, or subscribing to their newsletter

Global Fairness Initiative: Local Solutions for a Global Economy

The Global Fairness Initiative was founded in 2002 by Karen Tramontano to help exploited workers access economic opportunities and build sustainable livelihoods. Today, they fight for workers’ rights and develop innovative programs to create jobs and prosperity for the working poor. 

Their impact and transparency ratings: Charity Navigator gives the Global Fairness Initiative a 90% rating for Culture & Community. The charity also holds the Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar

We promote a more equitable, sustainable approach to economic development for the world’s working poor to generate opportunity and end the cycle of poverty.

The Global Fairness Initiative

What they do: The Global Fairness Initiative runs global programs that promote economic development for the world’s working poor. They do this by engaging local governments to implement policies that support opportunity and legal pay for vulnerable communities. They also engage trade unions and empower workers to advocate for their rights in communities worldwide. Moreover, they protect workers engaged in economic activities lacking proper documentation by advancing laws that respect their human rights and integrate them into formal employment.

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, the Global Fairness Initiative has supported hundreds of thousands of forced labor victims from 20 countries and four continents. They have also impacted tens of worker communities in industries worldwide, including forestry, apparel, and the informal economy. For example, in 2020, they helped over 100,000 people from 8 countries to improve their livelihoods and supported 11,000 victims of forced labor with counseling and safe employment. In addition, their Better Brick Nepal program has implemented labor standards that have protected nearly 30,000 adults and children from abusive labor.

Ways to contribute: You can donate to the Global Fairness Initiative on their website. You can also contribute by becoming a corporate partner, joining an internship, or by connecting with them on social media

How Can You Select the Best Charities to Support?

The charities on the list are, we deem, the best charities that fight to end forced labor. However, you may have a particular charity you want to support. Let’s look at what you can do to ensure your contribution has the most significant impact.

  • Check out the charity website. Charities that are worthy of your donations are transparent in their mission and their figures. Familiarise yourself with their history, mission, and values. Their website usually is the best place to start.
  • Identify the charity’s mission. Without a goal, the charity is likely to fail. If the charity’s mission isn’t clear, it’s probably worth looking for a charity that does have a clear mission. 
  • Check if the charity has measurable goals. An effective charity has clear goals. You want to know your donation will help the charity reach its goals. But if it doesn’t have targets, it’s likely to fail or squander your gift. The charity should be able to account for its spending and supply evidence of the work they do.
  • Assess the successes or goals the charity has achieved. You wouldn’t invest in a business if it kept missing its targets. In the same way, charities are like this too. If no one is assessing a charity’s progress in reaching its targets, the chances are they’re not making a substantial positive change.
  • Check the charity’s financials and stats. Trustworthy organizations will publish financial statements and reports each year. Some might be exempt from having to do so, but they should be able to provide them to public members who are interested in donating.
  • Locate sources who work with or benefit from the charity. Word of mouth and first-hand experience of a charity’s work lets you know the charity’s quality. If you’re able to do so, check out the charity for yourself or speak to someone familiar with it. This way, your donation will go to the right place. 

How Can You Best Support These Charities?

After you’ve made your decision, it’s time for you to decide on how you’d like to help the charities you’ve chosen. Check how you can help – each charity runs specific programs that have unique aims. Find out what the aim of such programs is and whether they are right for you. 

Here are a few ways you can help your chosen charity:

  • Donate money. You can find donation pages on the website of most charities. Your donation can be a one-time payment, or you can set it to be deducted regularly at different intervals. You can mostly pay via credit card, but some charities also take PayPal or Bitcoin payments.
  • Buy their official merchandise. The charities can also raise money by selling merchandise. So, you can support them by buying the mugs, shirts, caps, pens, pencils, and any other such items they may be selling. Ideally, you should buy as much as you can to share and spread the word about the charity’s activities.
  • Donate a percentage of your online purchases. If you bought anything on sites like Amazon lately, you’d find a prompt asking you to donate to your favorite charities through their Amazon Smile program. You can set this up so that your chosen charities will get a fraction of your online purchases.
  • Engage in volunteer work. As you’ve seen from our descriptions above, some charities engage in a lot of local and grassroots programs. You can help by taking on and organizing the program in your local area.
  • Help their fundraising efforts. You can spread the word about the charity in your workplace, school, church, etc., and hold creative fundraising drives on social media or offline within your small circles.
  • Share their stories. Most charities have compelling stories that you can share with your audience to attract more people to the cause.

Final Thoughts

Now it is up to you to select the charity that resonates most with you. And whichever charity you end up choosing and contributing to, we are sure that they will immensely appreciate your support. Hopefully, the information within this article has made this selection process a bit easier for you to support charities dedicated to fighting to end forced labor – based on the causes that matter most to you.

Stay impactful,

Illustration of a signature for Diana

PS: Finally, I want to leave you with a thought-provoking TED talk from Dan Pallotta, a leading philanthropic activist and fundraiser, about what is wrong with the way we think about charities – and what we can do about it:

Sources

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Diana Stancu

Diana loves to research and write about topics that bring awareness to communities in need. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Sciences and considers herself a lifelong learner who strives to increase her knowledge and expertise. Outside of work, she enjoys writing fiction, creating cooking recipes, studying philosophy, and taking sunset photos.

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