An astounding 27 million men, women, and children are currently held in slavery around the world, but the fight to eradicate the practice got a big boost Wednesday when Google announced that it is giving $ 11.5 million to help several leading organizations combat modern day slavery.
The money will go toward the creation of a coalition between various advocacy groups, led by International Justice Mission (IJM), a group that works around the world to rescue people from forced labor and sexual exploitation. IJM will partner with other groups like Polaris Project, Slavery Footprint, and others for a multi-year project, beginning in 2012.
Funds will be used to improve the infrastructure and resources that enforce anti-slavery legislation overseas, promote awareness of the problem domestically, and help push for laws against it in other countries.
"Many people are surprised to learn that there are more people trapped in slavery today than any time in history," Google´s director of charitable giving and advocacy, Jaquelline Fuller, told the Associated Press. "The good news is there are solutions."
IJM president Gary A. Haugen said the money will be directed to three different areas: $3.5 million will go toward the fight against forced labor in India; $4.5 million will fund a campaign in India to protect and educate vulnerable individuals; and $1.8 million will support a campaign to mobilize Americans to fight against this injustice.
The last $1.7 million will be divided among several smaller organizations dedicated to battling slavery.
"It´s hard for most Americans to believe that slavery and human trafficking are still massive problems in our world," Haugen said in a statement. "This oppression is now against the law, but millions don´t get the benefit of the law enforcement. To accelerate America´s leadership in helping rescue and protect those most vulnerable at home and overseas, 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."
Leaders of these groups are meeting today in Washington, D.C. to kick off the campaign.
The AP said Google chose organizations that have proven records in battling slavery.
Google is making donations to more than a dozen organizations this holiday season, for a total of $40 million in grants, the company announced today in a blog post. It has also chosen to support organizations that promote science, technology, engineering, and math programs; education of girls in developing countries; and programs for empowerment through technology.
Google said its charitable giving has totaled more than $115 million in 2011.
To learn more about Google´s philanthropic efforts this year, visit the Google Gives Back 2011 site.
Meanwhile, Mozilla on Tuesday kicked off its own year-end giving campaign, it wrote in a blog post. The effort includes 12 different charities, each sponsored by a celebrity spokesperson. For example, Will Ferrell is supporting Cancer for College, Jason Bateman is backing City Year, and Zooey Deschanel is championing The Innocence Project. Anyone can give to these causes, each of which Mozilla has kickstarted with a $5,000 donation. The winning organization will be awarded $25,000 from Mozilla.
PCMag has also launched a charitable campaign this year. It supports Concern Worldwide, an organization that combats hunger, feeding some of world´s poorest people. If you´re interested in making a contribution, visit the fundraising page for PCMag (and our parent company, Ziff Davis) at crowdrise.com.