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Actress Promotes New Center Aimed at Combating Modern Slavery

Original Source - CNN

By Elise Labott

Washington (CNN) - Actress Mira Sorvino called Tuesday for organizations, both public and private, to "reduce their slavery footprint," while speaking at the opening of a new center aimed at elevating efforts to combat the modern slave trade.

Sorvino, a Goodwill Ambassador to fight Human Trafficking for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, joined non-profits, faith-based groups and government leaders for the opening of the the United Way Center on Human Trafficking and Slavery.

The center will work with other non-profits and religious organizations to launch partnerships to combat the $150 billion trafficking industry. Such programs will include increasing victim identification, expanding access to services for survivors, eliminating slavery in business supply chains and targeting prevention efforts.

"United Way, with its community-based reach that is both local and global, stands to make important strides in galvanizing an effective, victim-centric response to modern-day slavery," Sorvino said.

Sens. Bob Corker, R-Tennessee, and Heidi Heitkamp, D-North Dakota, joined Sorvino, experts and trafficking survivors at the forum Monday. Corker, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has introduced The End Modern Slavery Initiative Act of 2015 for the U.S. to work in concert with the private sector and foreign governments to eliminate modern slavery around the world.

The legislation passed out of committee in February is working to move the bill through Congress.

Heitkamp called trafficking "among the most heinous crimes occurring today, stretching from our own backyards to beyond our borders."

"Working together we can help prevent our most vulnerable young citizens from falling prey to these crimes, and training others to recognize and help victims," Heitkamp said.

United Way Worldwide announced Monday at a forum to discuss efforts to combat trafficking it will be the first nonprofit to become a Made In A Free World organization. United Way Worldwide will work with Made In A Free World's technology, including the most comprehensive forced labor database in the world, to assess risk for forced labor in the goods and services that are purchased by the organization.