Funding story: The City Parochial Foundation

The foundation is funding an initiative involving five charities working to show that slavery is anything but history.

The 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade in the UK has been met with a fair amount of coverage of the slavery that still exists here and abroad. A lot of grant funding has gone to commemorative or educational projects about slavery in the past, but some funders are focusing on modern-day slavery. As London-based funder the City Parochial Foundation has found, this involves a more nuanced interpretation of the issue than the buying and selling of human beings.

The foundation is running a special initiative on slavery, funded through its Open Programme. The five grant recipients are: Anti-Slavery International; housing charity Eaves; Ecpat UK, which works to protect children from trafficking and sexual exploitation; the Women and Girls Network, which helps people who have been trafficked; and Kalayaan, which works with migrant domestic workers.

Rachael Takens-Milne, the foundation's field officer, who is coordinating the work, says: "We have tried to take really different angles. Originally, the thinking was mostly about trafficking. Then, through the grant-making process and speaking to people, we expanded our views.

"Anti-Slavery International is aiming to raise the issue of forced labour. Eaves will support an exiting-prostitution worker: that's a slightly different approach, working with trafficked people and other organisations to ensure that prostitutes have exit strategies. If prostitution is to be a real choice, people have to have an option of getting out if they wish to.

"The Kalayaan work has yet another take on the issue, because many migrant domestic workers may have come to the UK willingly - they haven't been trafficked - but are being exploited while they are here."

The grant recipients will get some additional support from the foundation and - crucially - the opportunity to expand links between each other and with the rest of the sector. "As an independent charitable funder, we also want to increase the capacity of the sector to campaign on this issue," Takens-Milne says.

It's an impressive initiative, not least because it acknowledges the complexities of 21st century slavery, showing the different ways in which slavery has not been eradicated.

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