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Google in £7m anti-slavery donation

Tech giant Google has announced it is donating 11.5 million US dollars (£7.4 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 organisations 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."

The Washington, DC-based International Justice Mission, a human rights organisation that works globally to rescue victims of slavery and sexual exploitation, was chosen by Google to lead the efforts.

It will partner with Polaris Project and Slavery Footprint and a handful of smaller organisations 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 in the United States and help countries draft anti-slavery legislation.

Gary A Haugen, president of the International Justice Mission (IJM), said the coalition would focus on three initiatives: a 3.5 million dollar (£2.25 million) intervention project to fight forced labour in India; a 4.5 million dollar (£2.9 million) advocacy campaign in India to educate and protect the vulnerable; and a 1.8 million dollar (£1.1 million) plan to mobilise Americans on behalf of the millions currently at risk of slavery or waiting for rescue around the world.

The remaining 1.7 million dollars (£1.09 million) will go to several smaller organisations working to combat slavery.

Those leading the US efforts will meet in Washington to kick off the joint initiative. The project will focus on improved legislation to protect vulnerable children and adults in the United States, as well as a push for more accountability and transparency in the US supply chain by retailers and manufacturers to make sure their products are "slave-free".

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 labour.

"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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