Modern Slavery

By strategically combining the power of our programmes we are able to provide unique expertise and offer high-impact solutions to tackle global issues.

The Thomson Reuters Foundation recognises the fight against modern slavery as an urgent global priority requiring coordinated action between civil society, law enforcement, governments, and corporations.

According to the International Labor Organization and Walk Free Foundation, over 40 million people around the world are victims of modern slavery. This number includes men and women who are held in forced and bonded labour and forced marriages, or have been trafficked for commercial sex or domestic servitude. Slavery is a hugely profitable business, one estimated to be worth $150 billion a year.

The Foundation plays a thought leadership role in the fight against slavery and trafficking by raising awareness of the crime through authoritative reporting and journalism training, by providing free legal assistance and research to anti-slavery organisations, and by convening all the key players in the global fight against modern-day slavery at the Trust Conference.

Engaging the private sector

The demand for cheap goods is fuelling forced labour, meaning that market forces drive both the supply and the demand for modern slavery. That’s why corporations have a crucial role to play. As a corporate Foundation, we are uniquely placed to engage the private sector through high-impact initiatives that position the fight against modern slavery as a business imperative.

Stop Slavery Award

The Stop Slavery Award was launched by the Thomson Reuters Foundation in 2015 to recognise companies who can be considered "best in class" based on the policies and the processes they have in place to limit the risk of slavery in their supply chain and operations, as well as on the role they are playing as key agents in the global fight against slavery.

The Stop Slavery Award has gone from strength to strength, most recently with the launch of new categories for 2020 recognising the contribution of SMEs, NGOs, grass roots organisations, the public sector and journalists.

Apply for the Stop Slavery Award


The Stop Slavery Award Judging Board brings together some of the world’s highest-profile leaders in the fight against slavery.

  • Kailash Satyarthi

    Nobel Peace Prize Recipient & Children's Rights Activist
  • Patricia Viseur Sellers

    International Criminal Lawyer
  • Kevin Hyland

    Former UK Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner
  • Cyrus R. Vance, Jr.

    District Attorney, New York County
  • Kenneth Roth

    Executive Director, Human Rights Watch
  • Monique Villa

    CEO of the Thomson Reuters Foundation and Founder of Trust Conference

Strengthening the Rule of Law

Ensuring the rule of law is upheld is fundamental to making progress in the fight against modern slavery. Our TrustLaw programme connects leading anti-slavery NGOs with top law firms providing crucial pro bono support.

Raising Awareness

Modern slavery is a hidden crime that most often goes unpunished. Good journalism has the power to shed light on the many complex aspects of this human rights abuse by holding people, governments and corporations to account.

Our investigative journalism and daily reporting exposes the crime and gives a voice to survivors and those on the frontlines, contributing to substantially increasing public awareness. We share this know-how by training other journalists to do the same across the world.

Reporting Modern Slavery

The Foundation’s team of journalists produces daily news, in-depth investigations, and short documentaries on modern slavery across the globe. All our news reaches an estimated readership of 1 billion people a day, triggering local and international debates, and leading to impactful change on the ground.

In-depth Coverage

  • Deaths of child workers in india's mica "ghost" mines covered up

  • The Smuggling Game: Playing with life and death to reach Europe

  • Drowning for Sand: Miners risk all for India's building boom



Daily News

Read more slavery news

Journalism Training

Through our training and mentoring, we help reporters around the world navigate the complexity they might encounter when investigating and reporting slavery and human trafficking, covering issues ranging from privacy laws to data mining and financial regulation.

Shaping the conversation

Our regular media appearances, editorial pieces and speaking engagements are evidence of our leading role in the fight against slavery.

Media Appearances

Our experts regularly appear on leading programmes to discuss the biggest issues in slavery and trafficking, as well as the initiatives we have created to address them.

In the Press

We consistently contribute pieces to leading publications around the world to reinforce public awareness of some of the most pressing issues in the fight against slavery, and are recognised by leading publications for our efforts in this space.

Taking Action

Our annual Trust Conference (formerly known as Trust Women) is the world’s leading forum for the fight against slavery and trafficking. We convene thought leaders, decision makers from across sectors, and activists. At the event, participants commit to taking concrete action to fight slavery, and to put the rule of law behind human rights.

Visit the website

Trust Conference Actions

In focus: Fighting Slavery Through Financial Data

Financial institutions have a key role to play in the fight against slavery. Through data mining and monitoring they can spot suspicious financial activity that can lead to the arrest and prosecution of traffickers. But while significant progress has been made in identifying money laundering and other financial crimes through internationally-shared mechanisms and practices, human trafficking has not been specifically addressed.

Major international banks pledge to work together to uncover the "financial fingerprints" of trafficking and slavery

In 2013, we partnered with Manhattan District Attorney, Cyrus R. Vance, Jr. to convey top US financial institutions and leading anti-slavery NGOs. The working group produced a set of ad-hoc red flag indicators to help detect and report suspicious financial activity potentially linked to human trafficking. Since the adoptions of the red flags by the financial institutions, the Manhattan DA’s office reported a significant spike in the number of Suspicious Activity Reports.

Following the success of the US initiative, the Financial Alliance has been replicated in Europe.


Each year, we invite survivors and key players to tackle the big questions in the fight against slavery and trafficking and share their experience with hundreds of people in the room and thousands more watching online.

  • Day 1 Keynote - Kevin Bales

  • Day 1 Keynote - Kate Van Doore

  • Day 1 Plenary - Orphanages as Trafficking Hubs

  • Day 1 Plenary - Innovations to Tackle Human Trafficking

  • Day 1 Plenary - Actions Leading to Solutions: Banks Alliance Around the World

  • Day 1 Plenary - 'Slave Free': A Unique Selling Point?

See more videos

2018 Conference Highlights

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While slavery is a global issue, we know that each part of the world faces its own distinct set of challenges. Trust Conference hosts regional spin-offs in a different continent each year, convening key local players to discuss strategies for combatting global issues with a regional focus.