What is Freedom Business?

Written By Freedom Business Alliance

This article is Part 1 of a three part series on the basics of Freedom Business. It is based primarily on the Freedom Business Code of Excellence, available for download here.

Freedom Business exists to create employment opportunities for survivors of Human Trafficking and those At Risk.

Understanding Freedom Business starts with understanding human trafficking. Today over 40 million people around the world are victims of human trafficking, also known as modern slavery.¹ This statistic is simply staggering. While awareness of this global crisis has grown, many are unfamiliar with what human trafficking is and how it happens.

Human trafficking is the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons, by means of threat, use of force, or other forms of coercion. Traffickers use means such as abduction, fraud, deception, or the abuse of power to gain control of their target victims. Essentially, traffickers identify then leverage their victims’ vulnerabilities in order to create dependency. This often includes the giving or receiving of payments or other benefits to achieve the initial consent of a person – sometimes even a family member – who has control over the intended victim.² Their end goal is labor exploitation – forced labor and sex trafficking which together amount to global profits of roughly $150 billion a year for traffickers, $99 billion of which comes from commercial sexual exploitation.³ An estimated 71% of enslaved people are women and girls, while men and boys account for 29%.⁴ Traffickers prey on socioeconomic vulnerabilities for their own gain.

How Human Trafficking Happens


Traffickers buy and exploit people vulnerable due to extreme poverty

Desperate families send or sell their children for promises of work

Perpetrators use threats, violence and other tactics of control

The Journey to Freedom


Rescue organizations free victims of trafficking and exploitation

Restoration organizations provide counseling and rehabilitation

After counseling, survivors need training and dignified jobs



Efforts to rescue victims of human trafficking have steadily risen over the last decade. However, the vulnerabilities of survivors do not disappear once a victim has been rescued. The factors that made them vulnerable in the first place, such as a lack of education, job training, or employment opportunities, still exist. The trauma of being trafficked then adds yet another layer of vulnerability. This leads to a startling level of re-trafficking. 80% of those rescued from modern slavery, also known as Human Trafficking, will be re-trafficked absent safe employment opportunities.⁵

To fight modern slavery and exploitation we need a strategy that includes more than rescue, one which addresses the economic vulnerabilities at the root of the problem. Freedom Business is that strategy, but it is not without incredible challenges.

Freedom Business exists to create employment opportunities for survivors of Human Trafficking and those At Risk.

These businesses create a healing-centered workplace intentionally designed to support the healing journey of survivors and contribute to their holistic development. Today there are almost 100 Freedom Businesses operating in more than 28 countries around the world. It is the mission of Freedom Business Alliance (FBA) to scale the Freedom Business Movement. Our vision is a job for every person healing from modern slavery and vulnerable to exploitation.

As an industry facilitator for Freedom Business, FBA removes the many barriers to growth and scale that no single business can address on its own. We connect the many players in the Freedom Business ecosystem and coordinate collective action.



To support the growth of the Freedom Business industry become an Ally by contributing $25/mo or more to our work. Become an Ally.


  1. International Labor Office. “Global Estimates of Modern Slavery: Forced Labour and Forced Marriage Executive Summary 2016.” Available at: http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/@dgreports/@dcomm/documents/publication/wcms_575540.pdf
  2. United Nations. (2000). Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, Supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. Retrieved from https://www.refworld.org/docid/4720706c0.html
  3. Human Rights First. “Human Trafficking by the Numbers.” Accessed July 31, 2019. https://www.humanrightsfirst.org/resource/human-trafficking-numbers.
  4. Free the Slaves.“Trafficking and Slavery Fact Sheet.” Accessed July 31, 2019. https://www.freetheslaves.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Trafficking-ans-Slavery-Fact-Sheet-April-2018.pdf
  5. Thomson Reuters Foundation. “Jobs to Restore the Lives of Slavery Survivors and Prevent Re-trafficking.” Trust Conference. Accessed June 02, 2018. http://www.trustconference.com/actions/i/?id=0598c1c2-c724-410d-a5e0-ac60fa9d7b8c

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