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Previous Anti-Slavery Award Winners

Justice 4 Domestic Workers

After a year’s break the Anti-Slavery award went to Justice 4 Domestic Workers.

Justice for Domestic Workers (J4DW) was established on March 15, 2009. It is an organisation of migrant domestic workers who work in private houses in the UK. It is made up solely of migrant domestic workers from across the world and offers support to domestic workers who have suffered abuse, exploitation and slavery.

The award came at the time when the UK government was in the process of removing the Overseas Domestic Workers visas, pushing migrant domestic workers back towards slavery. This means the migrant domestic workers no longer have a right to change their employer even if they find themselves in an abusive situation.

The work of Justice 4 Domestic Workers therefore becomes even more important.

SOS Esclaves

The winner of the 2009 Anti-Slavery Award was SOS Esclaves for its outstanding dedication and groundbreaking work towards ending slavery in Mauritania.

Slavery has existed in Mauritania for hundreds of years and is deeply rooted within society across the country. SOS Esclaves has been leading the fight for it to be acknowledged and addressed. For many years, due to the widespread acceptance of slavery and sensitivity of the issue they challenged, members of SOS Esclaves were continually harassed, threatened and intimidated.

However in 2007, after years of tireless work to expose the realities of slavery and defend the rights of those enslaved , new legislation was introduced to criminalise slavery - a true testament to the efforts of SOS Esclaves and a historic step forward for Mauritania in tackling slavery.

Coalition of Immokalee Workers

The Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) received the 2007 award for their exceptional contribution towards tackling modern-day slavery in the United States agricultural industry. CIW is based in Florida working with farm workers trafficked into forced labour, the majority ofwhom are from Mexico and Central America. They uncover and investigate cases of slavery  whilst raising awareness of forced labour practises amongst the farmworker community. Their determined efforts have resulted in theprosecution of six slavery cases in the past decade and the liberationof over a thousand workers held in debt bondage. The CIW also seeks toprevent forced labour within the industry and has successfullycampaigned for corporate buyers to take responsibility for theconditions in their supply chain, leading to historic agreements withthe largest fast-food corporations in the world. Read the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ acceptance speech.

James Aguer

James Aguer, chair of the Dinka Committee, received the 2006 Anti-Slavery Award for his inspiring and dedicated work against slavery in Sudan. During the 20 years of the Sudanese civil war, conflict, raids and abductions in the Southern part of the country were carried out by government-backed militias, leading to the enslavement of approximately 14,000 men, women and children. The abduction issue has still not been fully addressed and the majority of those enslaved has not yet been released. The attention on the Darfur conflict has unfortunately had the effect of sidelining this abduction issue, and it is hoped that the Award will allow the problem to be highlighted once more. See James's acceptance speech.

Cecilia Flores-Oebanda

Ma. Cecilia Flores-Oebanda, President and Executive Director of the Visayan Forum Foundation, received the 2005 Anti-Slavery Award for her outstanding and innovative work in the Philippines and surrounding region, particularly in the area of child domestic work. In 1991, Ma. Cecilia Flores-Oebanda founded Visayan Forum, which provides direct services to child domestic workers and victims of trafficking, reaches out to poor urban communities to try to tackle the root causes of child and exploited migrant labour and advocates for policy reforms. Cecilia and Visayan Forum are at the forefront of lobbying efforts for domestic workers' rights, such as urging the Philippine Government to adopt the Domestic Workers' Bill. See Cecilia's acceptance speech.  

Timidria

Timidria received the 2004 Anti-Slavery Award for its pioneering work against slavery in Niger. It spearheaded the anti-slavery movement in Niger, raising awareness of the issue and helping former slaves to integrate into society and successfully campaigning for amendments to the in Penal Code in 2003, which defines, prohibits and punishes slavery. The organisation is campaigning for the law to be implemented and for survivors of slavery to be given the help they need to rebuild their lives. Timidria's president, Ilguilas Weila, received the Award on behalf of the organisation, which was presented by internationally renowned Sierra Leonean filmmaker Sorious Samura. You can read Ilguilas Weila's speech and Award presenter Sorious Samura's speech.

Vera Lesko

Vera Lesko received the 2003 Anti-Slavery Award on 20 November for her courageous and dedicated work against the trafficking of women and girls into sexual exploitation in Albania. She is the founding director of The Hearth of Vlora Women, an organisation based in southern Albania, which has pioneered anti-trafficking efforts in the country and opened the country's first shelter for trafficked Albanian women and girls. The Hearth is campaigning for international protection measures for victims of trafficking. See Vera Lesko's speech and Award presenter Deputy Assistant Commissioner Carole Howlett's speech.

Backward Society Education (BASE)

Backward Society Education (BASE) received the 2002 Anti-Slavery Award for its outstanding work against bonded labour in Nepal. BASE fights against the poverty, bonded labour and exploitation of the indigenous Tharu minority in western Nepal. It focuses on the empowerment and mobilisation of bonded labourers and other impoverished people providing human rights education, training, literacy, small business support and organising bonded labourers to campaign against their conditions. Award ceremony speeches.

Association for Community Development (ACD)

In 2001 ACD was awarded for its outstanding work against human trafficking in Bangladesh. One of the first organisations in Bangladesh to focus on the issue, it works directly with the victims of trafficking, the general public and with local officials. In 1999 ACD founded a shelter home which helps trafficked women and children recover from their ordeal and stops them from being trafficked again. Award ceremony speeches.

George Omona

Project co-ordinator for Gulu Support the Children Organisation (GUSCO), George Omona was awarded in 2000 for his outstanding work with children affected by armed conflict, particularly those abducted by the rebel Lord's Resistance Army in Uganda. GUSCO has rehabilitated more than 2,300 children, helping them recover from their horrific ordeals through a combination of physical rehabilitation and psychological support.

Vivek and Vidyullata Pandit

In 1999 Anti-Slavery awarded Indian human rights activists Vivek and Vidyullata Pandit for their work against bonded labour. For more than 20 years the Pandits have worked to free bonded labourers in India, and have freed more than 1,500 bonded labourers in the state of Maharashtra, none of whom has returned to the bonded labour system. They have also set up support organisations to help bonded labourers free themselves.

Cheïkh Saad Bouh Kamara

The 1998 Award honoured Professor Kamara's work to protect human rights and eradicate slavery in Mauritania. In the face of government opposition in the early 1990s, he helped to found and headed the Association Mauritanienne des Droits de l'Homme in the wake of mass killings and expulsion of thousands of black Mauritanians from their own country.

Pureza Lopes Loiola

In 1997, Pureza Lopes Loiola won the Anti-Slavery Award for her work campaigning against the use of slave labour on Brazil's rural estates. She began her campaign when her youngest son went missing after leaving to work on an estate in northern Brazil.

Regional Indigenous Organisation of Atalaya (OIRA) OIRA received the 1996 Award for its work in freeing thousands of Ashaninka, an indigenous people from Peru's Amazon basin, from bonded labour.

Harry Wu

In 1995, the medal was given to Harry Wu for his dedicated and dangerous work in publicising and calling for international sanctions against the continuing use on a massive scale of forced labour in Chinese prison camps.

Edwin Paraison

In 1994 the winner of the Anti-Slavery Award was Father Edwin Paraison for his efforts to highlight the plight of Haitian cane cutters enslaved on the sugar plantations in the Dominican Republic, and in freeing Haitian children working there.

ECPAT

The 1993 medal was presented to the End Child Prostitution in Asian Tourism campaign. ECPAT began in 1991 as a response to the wide concern among social and church groups in Thailand, the Philippines and Sri Lanka over the rise in the numbers of prostituted children, and grew into a worldwide campaign to halt the rise in the commercial sexual abuse of children.

Ricardo Rezende

In 1992, Father Ricardo Rezende Figueira was presented with the Award for his work as representative of the Pastoral Land Commission in Brazil. Despite many threats on his life, Father Rezende has persistently denounced, both locally and internationally, the abuse of poor, landless Brazilians forced to work as slave labour on many large estates in the Amazonia region.

Bonded Liberation Front (India)

This group won the first Anti-Slavery Award in 1991 for its success in freeing and rehabilitating thousands of bonded labourers and in helping to raise the profile of this issue both in India and internationally. The Award was presented to one of its joint founders, Swami Agnivesh.
 


2007 Award winner, CIW’s Lucas Benitez
©Peter Wolfes



Cecilia Flores-Oebanda,President and Executive Director of the Visayan Forum Foundation
©Alex Smailes/COLORS