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frequently asked questions

About Anti-Slavery International

Question: How long has Anti-Slavery International been working?

Answer:  Anti-Slavery International is the world's oldest international human rights organisation. Its roots stretch back to 1787 when the first abolitionist society was formed. A new organisation, the British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society, formed on 17 April 1839, declaring its commitment to abolishing slavery throughout the world. This organisation continues today under the name Anti-Slavery International. 
Q: What does Anti-Slavery International do?

A: Anti-Slavery International is the only charity in the United Kingdom working exclusively against slavery and related abuses, and is the leading organisation in this field. With your help we work at local, national and international levels to eliminate the systems of slavery around the world. By working with local partners we investigate and report on slavery and promote action to eliminate this abuse. 
Q:  Isn't slavery a thing of the past?

A: Today, millions of men, women and children around the world are forced to live in slavery. People are forced to work through the threat or use of violence, they are bought and sold like objects, work for long hours often for little or no pay and are at the mercy of their employers. A key difference between slavery today and that in the past is that now, thanks to the struggle of abolitionists and freedomfighters in the late-18th and early 19th centuries, slavery is illegal in every country.

But it has not been eliminated because these laws are not enforced. Even in Europe and North America, where slavery appeared to have been consigned to history, it has returned in the form of human trafficking and forced labour.

A slave is:

  • Forced to work -- through mental or physical threat.
  • Owned or controlled by an 'employer', usually through mental or physical abuse or threatened abuse.
  • Dehumanised, treated as a commodity or bought and sold as 'property'.
  • Physically constrained or has restrictions placed on his/her freedom of movement.

Q: What types of slavery still exist / do you work on?
A:  Slavery takes many forms and affects people of all ages, sex and race. It is: bonded and forced labour, descent based slavery, early and forced marriage, worst forms of child labour and trafficking of people into forced labour. Anti-Slavery International works on all of these issues. 
Q: Which countries do you work in?

A: Anti-Slavery International works throughout the world through local partners -- wherever slavery is found, we can make a difference. This particularly includes countries in Africa, South Asia, East Asia, Latin America, Europe and the Gulf. The largest numbers of people in slavery live in the poorest countries of the world. 
Q: Do you have offices overseas?

A: No, we always seek partnerships with local organisations. This is critical to understanding the local situation and the specific approaches necessary to achieving sustainable change for the victims of slavery. 
Q:  How many slaves are there in the world?

A: Millions of people live in slavery around the world. The International Labour Organization estimates at least 12 million people are in forced labour around the world; more than six million of whom are children. Slavery exists on every continent of the world and affects most countries. 
Q:  If we stop children working won't they and their families starve?

A: There is a difference between work that contributes to a child and their family's life and slavery. Some types of work make useful, positive contributions to a child's development. Often, work is a vital source of income that helps to sustain children and their families.

But with slavery, the child is denied their right to education, rest and recreation. They are subjected to extremely hazardous work in harmful conditions, putting their health, personal and social development, and even their lives, at risk. Many are forced into full-time work at a very early age. They are frequently made to work long hours for little or no pay. Many are subjected to verbal, physical, psychological and sexual abuse. A child in slavery is kept in the cycle of poverty.

We work with local partners to ensure that there is rehabilitation and training so that children and their families can have an income and a life with opportunities.
Q: How is Anti-Slavery International funded?

A: We are dependant on support from individuals' donations, income from events and legacies. The remainder is made up of project grants from trusts, foundations and government departments.
Q: Do you fund redemption fees or clear bonded labourers' debts?

A: From time to time people contact Anti-Slavery International and offer to pay for the release of individuals or the eradication of their debts.

With millions of people enslaved around the world we need your help to tackle the structures that support the practice of slavery and bring the entire system of slavery to an end. Anti-Slavery International does not pay individuals to secure the release of slaves because of the danger of perpetuating the cycle of slavery. Slave masters have been know to buy more slaves with their redemption money, and released bonded labourers can find them themselves destitute and are likely to be re-bonded if the system is not tackled and rehabilitation programmes for those freed are not in place.
Q: Do you have a newsletter?

A: Yes, the Reporter  is published four times a year. Regular donors and members can chose to receive the Reporter to keep informed of the latest issues of slavery around the world, including in-depth features and new developments in the fight to end slavery.

Supporting Anti-Slavery International

Q: Can I become a member?

A: Many of our members choose to make a monthly gift of £10, £5 or £3 by Direct Debit, it's the most efficient way to support our work and keep your membership up to date. Monthly support by Direct Debit certainly reduces our admin costs, but the real benefit is a human one; it means we can put your donation to work straight away where it is needed most.

Please complete a Direct Debit instruction on-line or call us on 020 7501 8920 if you would prefer to set up your Direct Debit over the phone.

As a member you have the right to vote at our Annual General Meeting regarding the governance of the organisation and to receive the Reporter, our quarterly publication. Please also consider joining our Campaigns Network and become part of a community of activists fighting to bring an end to slavery now.

Suggested minimum donations for membership:

  • We suggest a minimum gift of £2 per month or £35 per year;

  • £8 per year concessions (UK only): students / benefits recipients / retired;

  • Life membership is £525, which you can also give as a gift to a loved one.
Q: What can my money actually do?


  • £5 could pay for a former bonded labourer to travel to a neighbouring area to find paid work, escaping harassment from his former master;

  • £10 could pay for 50 action briefings asking campaigners to write letters to a government demanding a person be freed from slavery;

  • £20 could pay for 1,250 leaflets to be printed locally and distributed in West African villages to raise awareness of the dangers of traffickers in vulnerable communities;

  • £45 could pay for one day of running an overseas partner's shelter for escaped or freed slaves, helping them start a new life;

  • £50 could provide emergency funds to support a child fleeing abuses as a domestic worker;

  • £100 could pay for a day's training for one of our overseas partners on how to use the international human rights system and international campaigning methods;

  • £250 could pay for the preparation of evidence on slavery to submit to the United Nations;

  • £1,000 could pay for a partner in East Africa to educate and counsel seven former child domestic workers so they can make a fresh start;

  • £5,000 could pay for two workshops to help local partner organisations understand better how to protect children from the worst forms of child labour.
Q: How much is spent on administration and fundraising?

A: Over 80 per cent of our expenditure goes directly to projects and campaigns. Only 13 per cent is spent on fundraising and events, and just 6 per cent on management and administration (2004-2005 accounts).
Q: Why should I support Anti-Slavery International using a Direct Debit?

A: A Direct Debit provides:
  • Predictable income means we can better plan and budget -- making us more efficient.
  • You're protected by the Direct Debit Guarantee and can stop or change your gift at anytime.'Anti-Slavery International' will appear next to your payments on your bank statement so you'll know we have received your gift and are putting it to good use.

  • Lower bank charges and less admin costs mean that more of your money goes straight towards our work.

  • We particularly suggest monthly as opposed to annual gifts as most supporters find monthly gifts easier to budget for (but of course we are delighted to receive an annual gift if it's easier for you).

  • See Direct Debit form for more information
Q: Can Anti-Slavery International claim tax relief on my donations?

A: Yes, if you are a UK tax payer Anti-Slavery international can claim tax relief on any donation that you make, or if you would like further details please request for them to be posted to you and you may sign and return a declaration through the post.

If you are making large donation from the USA, please contact us at before you do so and we can make arrangements for you to make your tax gift effectively.
Q: Are there additional ways to help?

A: You can join Anti-Slavery International International's Campaigns Network and become part of a community of activists fighting to bring an end to slavery.

Thousands of people are already part of the network, helping to make a difference. Anti-Slavery International's experience shows that your emails and letters do help pressure governments into taking action to stop slavery in their countries. They also offer support to local organisations in their struggle to protect individuals' basic human rights.

Anti-Slavery International has developed an events pack for supporters and members who want to organise their own fundraising or campaigning events. Fundraising for Freedom is packed with useful tips and information, including how we can help make your event a success.

You can download the events pack as a PDF or contact us on 020 7501 8942 or email if you would like to be sent a copy in the post.
Q: How can I volunteer for Anti-Slavery International?

A: Without support from volunteers, Anti-Slavery International would not be able to achieve all that it does. There are volunteer opportunities in the Programme and Advocacy, External Relations and Admin Teams. Most often required commitment is three months – but that could be for just one afternoon a week. If you are interested in a volunteer placement or internship please contact:

Melissa Ritchie
Anti-Slavery International
Thomas Clarkson House
The Stableyard
Broomgrove Road
Tel: 020 7501 8920
Q: Can my organisation affiliate / join Anti-Slavery International?

A: Larger organisations can join for £420 per annum and receive multiple copies of our quarterly magazine Reporter.

Smaller organisations and local groups can join for the same minimum donation as individuals.

Contact us on or telephone 020 7501 8942 for more details.

Bonded labour is probably the least known but widest used form of slavery today
©Pete Pattisson /


children in school

Former Restaveks, child domestic servants, at a summer camp organised as rehabilitation by Foyer Maurice Sixto
©Pete Pattisson /