Disrupting the dangerous patterns that can lead to vulnerable people becoming trapped in human trafficking and modern slavery is not an easy feat.

And the private clients team at CAF have had the opportunity to work with a Foundation that combats just that.

Established in 2014 by Clare and Chris Mathias, the focus of the Hummingbird Foundation is to co-create a Prevention of Trafficking model in 24 North and 24 South Parganas in West Bengal, India, through community action.

The foundation works closely with its seven partner organisations that work locally within the community to challenge cultural and social norms as well as bring about a systemic change.

And that is no easy task.

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Speaking about the vital work the foundation carries out, chair and chief executive of the Hummingbird Foundation, Clare Mathias, said: “Targeting social and cultural norms along with a change in attitude towards gender is extremely important. While this is one of the most sustainable ways to prevent trafficking, it is also one of the slowest and most time-consuming. We have to be patient to see change in these communities as these social and cultural norms are deeply rooted.”

The pair were inspired to take action after one of their three daughters came back from school one day and shared what she had learned about missing girls in India.

The couple have since been working closely with the private clients team at CAF to ensure that funds and resources are put to work on the ground in a secure way.

Speaking about the collaboration with CAF, Clare said: “The charity was an obvious choice when we started to invest in Hummingbird as it provided a straightforward platform for administration and tax efficiency.”

She added: “CAF has been a great platform to learn from like-minded people and has facilitated important conversations where we could share our successes and failures. These conversations have guided us in creating impactful strategies on the field.”

The foundation’s seven partner organisations work with young people, community-based institutions like Village-level Child Protection Committees and the community at large to target vulnerabilities that exacerbate trafficking.

But Clare says there is much more work to be done, adding: “In 2016, the Global Slavery Index estimated 48.5 million people are in some form of modern slavery. This is a staggering number and the more people are of aware of the issue the better.  It is important to reflect on why this exists and the social and political norms that allow it to flourish so abundantly.”


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