Dr. Lal was honored on Friday, June 20th, in Washington D.C. by Secretary of State John Kerry for his invaluable contributions to the fight against modern slavery.
The Freedom Fund is dedicated to identifying and investing in the most effective front-line efforts to end slavery. The organization invests in a range of community-based organizations to enable them to protect those at risk of slavery, rescue and rehabilitate those enslaved, and prosecute those responsible. Geneva Global identifies key organizations, such as MSEMVS, whose programs empower communities, are sustainable and scalable, and deliver maximum impact.
MSEMVS, whose name in English means “Society for Human Development and Women’s Empowerment,” is an anti-trafficking organization led by Bhanuja Saran Lal, and is located in Uttar Pradesh, India. Uttar Pradesh is a source, transit and destination point for human trafficking, and has one of the largest bonded labor populations in India.
“The sustainable solutions implemented by MSEMVS are transforming one of the most high-risk areas for slavery in the world into a strong network of safe and empowered communities. We are so pleased Bhanuja Saran Lal and MSEMVS have been recognized for their commitment to ending human trafficking in the face of constant threats, abuse, and daunting obstacles,” said Doug Balfour, CEO of Geneva Global.
Working primarily in rural settings and in villages with a high percentage of bonded laborers, MSEMVS employs a model which seeks to first assist villagers in attaining their freedom, and then to equip villagers with the skills and knowledge to sustain their freedom and livelihoods. They do this by helping villagers in establishing community vigilance committees, creating alternative means of income, and establishing non-formal education centers for affected children. In 2013 alone, they helped to release 900 people from bonded labor, of which 24 were children.
“We’re proud to support the work Bhanuja Saran Lal and his organization are doing to help individuals and communities free themselves from modern slavery,” said Nick Grono, CEO of the Freedom Fund. “We look to fund anti-slavery initiations around the world that can make the biggest difference and this honor is indicative of the innovative and effective work Dr. Lal and his team are doing in India.”