Freedom (charity)

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Freedom Charity
Founded 11 August 2009 (2009-08-11)
Founder Aneeta Prem
Type Educational and support charity
Registration no. 1139657
Focus Victims of forced marriage and related violence
  • London
Area served
United Kingdom
Product Education, advice, helpline, book, smartphone app
Key people
Toby Harris, Vineeta Thornhill
Slogan "saving lives"

Freedom or Freedom Charity is a UK-based charity which supports victims of forced marriage, FGM and dishonour on the family.[1] The charity was founded in 2009 by Aneeta Prem and the chair of trustees is Toby Harris.

Awareness and helpline for forced marriage, FGM and dishonour abuse[edit]

The charity provides educational material and teaching and training programmes for schools & front line professionals and runs a 24/7 helpline supported by trained professionals.[1] It is thought there may be 8000 forced marriages each year in Britain and it is most prevalent in communities originating in south Asia.[2][3]

The charity operates its own website and also uses social media websites.[4] In conjunction with the UK government's Forced Marriage Unit and the Metropolitan Police, the charity provides a smartphone app which, to divert suspicion, ostensibly looks like a game but which gives information regarding forced marriage for victims and carers and allows helplines to be called and emergency help to be summoned.[5] The organisation aims to give every teenager in Britain a copy of Prem's book But It's Not Fair, a book with governmental recommendation.[6][7][8]

Freedom Charity was founded by Aneeta Prem, a magistrate, who was born in London.[1][3] When working as a karate teacher in London, Prem encountered the problem of forced marriages when teaching martial arts to young women.[9]

On 16 June 2014, The Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 (UK) [10] made forcing someone into marriage a criminal offence. The charity marked the change in legislation by launching a hashtag campaign #freedom2choose[11] and a video to help raise awareness of the change in legislation was produced.[12] The video featured The Home Secretary, Theresa May; Aneeta Prem, founder of Freedom Charity; Sophie Lott from the government's Forced Marriage Unit; Commander Mak Chishty, National Police Lead on Forced Marriage; Nazir Afzal, Chief Crown Prosecutor of the Crown Prosecution Service for North West England, Edward Pleeth, a barrister; plus an anonymous victim of forced marriage,

Domestic slavery rescue[edit]

In October 2013, the organisation was contacted by three women in London saying they had been held as domestic slaves for thirty years. A television documentary on forced marriages, followed by an interview with Prem describing the work of Freedom Charity, had prompted one of the victims to call the helpline. Freedom contacted the Metropolitan Police who managed the women's rescue with the assistance of the charity which held secret telephone calls with the captives.[13] Two suspects were arrested.[3][8]

Red Triangle campaign[edit]

Monday 6 February 2017 saw Freedom Charity launch the Red Triangle campaign. Set to run until International Women's Day on the 8th March, the campaign aims to help eradicate Female Genital Mutilation FGM/C in a generation. Those taking part in the campaign are encouraged to wear a small downward facing red triangle to symbolise solidarity against Female Genital Mutilation.[14]


  1. ^ a b c "Women 'held as slaves for 30 years': who are the Freedom Charity?". MSN UK News. MSN. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  2. ^ Sterling, Harry. "Op-Ed: Baird is right to shine a light on forced marriage". Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c Walker, Peter. "News Society Charities Freedom Charity: the group involved in rescue of London 'slave women'". Guardian. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  4. ^ "Freedom Charity freedom charity "Saving lives"". Freedom Charity. Archived from the original on 3 December 2013. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  5. ^ "Freedom charity launch forced marriage smartphone app". Scottish Commissioner for Children and Young People. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  6. ^ "What We Do". Freedom Charity. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  7. ^ Prem, Aneeta (2011). Burns, Jacqueline, ed. But It's Not Fair. Norwich: Prem Publishing. ISBN 9780956975102. 
  8. ^ a b "Women 'held as slaves for 30 years'". News London. BBC. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  9. ^ "Freedom charity supports forced marriage victims". ITV News. ITV. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  10. ^ Legislation on Forced Marriage
  11. ^ "#freedom2choose hashtag campaign". #Freedom2Choose – We Need You. 24 June 2014. Archived from the original on 13 August 2014. Retrieved 24 June 2014. 
  12. ^ "#Freedom2Choose film With Home Secretary". Freedom Charity / Home Office (UK Government). 24 June 2014. Retrieved 24 June 2014. 
  13. ^ Leville, Sandra; Halliday, Josh; Walker, Peter. "London slaves freed: three women walk out of house after 30 years' captivity". Guardian. Retrieved 22 November 2013. 
  14. ^ Summers, Hannah. "Anti-FGM campaign launched in UK to mark global day of opposition'". Guardian. Retrieved 6 February 2017.