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November 5, 2018

HU and NoVo Foundation Announce New Funding to Address Human Trafficking Locally

Humanity United and NoVo Foundation Announce Support for Grassroots Organizations to Address Key Gaps in Local Communities’ Responses to Human Trafficking

New Funding will Strengthen Survivor Leadership and Support Grassroots Approaches to Address Labor and Sexual Exploitation in Atlanta, Chicago, and Minneapolis

Washington, D.C. – November 5, 2018 – The Partnership for Freedom today announced recipients of new grants to address labor and sexual exploitation at the local level by bolstering survivor leadership and strengthening grassroots organizing in Atlanta, Chicago, and Minneapolis. The four grant recipients are: Survivor Alliance, National Economic and Social Rights Initiative, Raise the Floor Alliance, and Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en la Lucha (Center for Workers United in Struggle).

“Cities have a critical role to play in addressing human trafficking and severe exploitation, and government efforts must be matched by leaders and organizations that can reach deep within their communities and lift the voices of the most vulnerable,” said Megan Tackney, program manager at Humanity United. “We are excited to support organizations that can leverage their unique expertise to elevate the role of survivors and advance advocacy that addresses the root causes of exploitation.”

Last February, the Pathways to Freedom Challenge also announced its support of three senior fellows in Atlanta, Chicago, and Minneapolis to develop citywide approaches to better prevent human trafficking and support survivors. The grants announced today will complement local government efforts by working at a community level to address some of the cities’ biggest challenges.

Three of the grants were awarded to local nonprofits committed to addressing economic and other social injustices that are at the root of severe exploitation. Each grantee has grassroots community organizing capabilities and the ability to reach thousands of low-wage worker communities that have traditionally been vulnerable to exploitation, including immigrants, communities of color, and women.

A fourth grant was awarded to the Survivor Alliance, an organization dedicated to uniting and empowering survivors of slavery and human trafficking around the world. “Survivor Alliance is honored to work collaboratively with our allies and elevate survivor leadership,” said Minh Dang, Survivor Alliance executive director. “Our aim is to ensure that people with lived experiences of human trafficking become more connected with each other and fellow civic leaders.”

“Survivors remain severely underserved, and many – especially survivors of color, Indigenous survivors, immigrant survivors, LGBTQ youth, people with disabilities, and those struggling with addiction – are too often overlooked or ignored,” stated Puja Dhawan, Director, Initiative to End Violence Against Girls and Women at the NoVo Foundation.

The Partnership for Freedom, created by Humanity United, is a public-private partnership dedicated to spurring innovation in the fight to end human trafficking. Pathways to Freedom, the Partnership’s third challenge, is led by Humanity United and the NoVo Foundation.

Learn more at or follow @pathwaysfreedom on Twitter and Facebook.

About the Grant Recipients

In Atlanta, the Partnership for Freedom grant will enable the National Economic and Social Rights Initiative to do a feasibility study and lay the groundwork for organized workers to create Atlanta’s first worker center, which would address the greatest needs of low-wage workers in the city and surrounding areas. The center could provide a range of functions for low-wage workers including: education on basic worker rights, legal representation, networking opportunities among low-wage workers, enabling sectoral based organizing, and providing a home for worker-led campaigns to change policy and practice, as well as creating emerging co-enforcement models between agencies and worker centers.

In Chicago, the Partnership for Freedom grant will enable Raise the Floor Alliance, a network that includes ARISE and seven other worker centers, to work with the City of Chicago to develop a co-enforcement model to address the current lack of enforcement mechanisms for labor standards violations including minimum wage and wage theft relief, paid sick days, and the inclusion of domestic workers in workplace protections. Raise the Floor Alliance will also advocate on behalf of workers in highly exploitative conditions and train them to identify and report labor trafficking.

In Minneapolis, the Partnership for Freedom grant will enable the Center for Workers United in Struggle (CTUL) to build long-term partnerships between grassroots organizations representing the needs of immigrants, low-wage workers, and communities of color – and the city of Minneapolis. The grant will support CTUL’s workplace rights outreach with low-wage workers of color to address wage theft, safety violations, and other forms of abuse and exploitation in restaurants, construction, retail and other industries with frequent violations of workers’ rights. The grant also supports CTUL’s partnership with The Awood Center, a new worker center housed within the Minnesota Council on American Islamic Relations that is focused on workplace rights outreach to the Twin Cities’ large East African diaspora community.

The Partnership for Freedom grant will support the Survivor Alliance to assess human trafficking survivor leadership in each Pathways to Freedom city and to hire Survivor Alliance fellows for two years. The fellows will work to ensure survivors’ input and feedback is integrated into local anti-trafficking efforts, increase survivor involvement in city-wide anti-trafficking efforts, and equip city leaders with a deeper awareness about survivors’ needs, strengths, and interests. Led by survivors and their close allies, Survivor Alliance is a global network of survivor leaders who are engaged in anti-slavery and anti-trafficking work or interested in becoming engaged. Survivor Alliance focuses on leadership development, providing training and resources for its members to develop personally and professionally.

About Humanity United

Humanity United is a foundation dedicated to bringing new approaches to global problems that have long been considered intractable. We build, lead, and support efforts to change the systems that contribute to problems like human trafficking, mass atrocities, and violent conflict. HU is part of The Omidyar Group, a diverse collection of organizations, each guided by its own approach, but united by a common desire to catalyze social impact.

Facebook: /humanityunited/
Twitter: @HumanityUnited

About NoVo Foundation

NoVo Foundation is dedicated to building a more just and balanced world. Founded in 2006 by Jennifer and Peter Buffett, NoVo has become one of the largest private foundations in the world to support initiatives focused explicitly on girls and women, including a dedicated focus on ending violence against girls and women and supporting adolescent girls. NoVo also works to advance social and emotional learning, support Indigenous communities and promote local living economies.

Facebook: /NoVoFoundation/
Twitter: @NoVoFoundation

CONTACT: Ann Brown, 1-301-633-4193,

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