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Setting people in slavery free is the first step on a long journey towards their full rehabilitation. Helping them to rebuild their lives means empowering them to find their own abilities, fostering their resilience to prevent re-victimization and facilitating the tools required to start a new life.

The process of assisting victims to live in freedom includes providing:

  • a protective environment to live safely;
  • social services to meet basic needs;
  • medical care to treat and heal the physical impact;
  • therapy to overcome psychological trauma;
  • legal representation to access rights and obtain redress;
  • education, vocational training and sustainable income to ensure future livelihood.

Examples of how the Fund helps victims

Picture of local children of a community victim of inter-generational
prostitution © Bernard Henin, APNE AAP Organization, India

With the support of the Fund, civil society organizations have, for example:

  • Developed ground-breaking projects to assist child soldiers and victims of sexual slavery in armed conflicts;
  • Provided legal assistance to victims of bonded and forced labour rescued from ranches;
  • Offered healthcare, food and education to children working in quarries and carpet industries;
  • Supplied emergency shelters, free hotlines, primary health care and legal assistance to victims of forced marriages, domestic servitude and trafficking.

For more examples, read about the projects that received funding in 2021.

Types of assistance

The Fund awards grants to organizations delivering direct assistance to victims of contemporary forms of slavery. Priority is given to projects providing holistic support aimed at redress, empowerment and reintegration of survivors. There are many different kinds of assistance.

Medical assistance: treats the physical post-traumatic impact and, following diagnosis by a medical professional, may include conventional treatment, traditional healing and complementary medicine. 

Psychological assistance: therapy helps victims to overcome the psychological trauma to facilitate heir gradual reintegration into society. 

Social assistance: ensures that victims have access to basic services, including housing, health care, education, language classes and employment training.

Legal assistance: may cover the fees of lawyers, courts, translations and legal proceedings to access rights and to seek reparation and compensation for victims before competent national, regional and international bodies.

Educational assistance: enables victims and their children to reintegrate to society and prevent continued stigmatization. It may include formal, as well as non-formal education, covering school enrolment, fees, uniforms, meals and stationery.

Vocational and skills training: enhances the chances of victims’ joining employment schemes and earning an independent livelihood. Examples include literacy, sewing, IT and beauty care training, as well as start-up funds for small business enterprises.

Financial assistance: enables victims to meet their basic needs until they can become more self-reliant, particularly when they are unable to work due to the severe physical and psychological traumas they have endured.

Capacity building of grantees: aims to strengthen the capacity of organizations receiving grants, by organizing skills-based sessions, such as human rights education and project management training.