By Priyanka Moorjani
LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Britain unveiled two multi-million pound funds on Thursday to tackle modern slavery overseas and at home as part of a drive to end the crime described as a "barbaric evil" by Prime Minister Theresa May.
Britain's home secretary (interior minister), Amber Rudd, was due to make the 14 million pound ($17 million) commitment at a conference in the Vatican involving law enforcement chiefs, Catholic Church representatives and activists.
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An 11 million pound fund, open to bidders immediately, aims to support new projects in countries from which victims are known to be trafficked to Britain.
Rudd said a further 3 million pounds would be available to bidders for projects to help protect vulnerable children both overseas and in Britain who are at risk of being trafficking.
"Modern slavery is a global crime which demands an international response," Rudd said in a statement.
"Britain has taken world-leading action to tackle modern slavery. We are determined to work with other governments around the world to eradicate slavery and send a message that it will not be tolerated."
The pledge furthers Britain's lead in tackling modern slavery, which affects an estimated 46 million people worldwide and generated $150 billion in illegal profits a year.
Last month, May pledged to use 33.5 million pounds from the foreign aid budget to focus on combating slavery in countries from which victims are trafficked to Britain, where an estimated 11,700 people are enslaved.
Last week, the government set out details of a further 8.5 million pound fund to aid law enforcement agencies by providing over 50 more analysts, specialists and investigators to assist the police in England and Wales tackle slavery.
Britain last year passed tough anti-slavery legislation introducing life sentences for traffickers and forcing companies to disclose what they are doing to make sure their supply chains are free from slavery.
(Reporting by Priyanka Moorjani; editing by Belinda Goldsmith; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, property rights and climate change. Visit http://news.trust.org)