FREEDOM BUSINESS Code of Excellence

FREEDOM BUSINESS Code of Excellence

FREEDOM BUSINESS Code of Excellence


Today over 40 million people are enslaved worldwide. 80% of those rescued from modern slavery, also known as Human Trafficking, will be re-trafficked absent safe employment opportunities. To fight modern slavery and exploitation we need a strategy that includes more than rescue, one which addresses the economic roots 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. 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.


The work of Freedom Business is considered by many of our Members to be more than just a business, but a calling. While most businesses seek to hire the best and brightest, Freedom Businesses seek first to create employment opportunities for those who are most often unskilled and have experienced trauma, upholding a commitment to the vulnerable in society and a belief in the inherent high worth of every human being. Therefore our Members work to create workplaces that are safe and trauma-informed. And while safe employment is a vital component of freedom, they believe true freedom requires more. It requires a belief in one’s own worth that grows with professional, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual development, most effectively achieved in a community that offers love, hope, and healing. This is why our Members go further than simply offering a job, but endeavor to create this type of supportive and formative community within their places of work. Thus, they uphold the belief that business, when intentional, can serve as an optimal vehicle for healing and transformation. These intentions require incredible sacrifice and investment. This document describes the high standards and commitments undertaken in pursuit of this calling.


This Code of Excellence defines the business practices that sustain holistic freedom and distinguish the work of Freedom Business. It contains six Commitments upheld by Freedom Businesses, defines common terms used within our industry, and provides a framework for implementation. The Freedom Business Code of Excellence is informed by Members of Freedom Business Alliance and is based on common Freedom Business values, the International Labour Organization (ILO) conventions, human rights and other internationally recognized principles. It is also informed by other aligned, internationally-recognized codes, standards and commitments such as those from the World Fair Trade Organization, World Economic Forum, Chab Dai, and the Business As Mission (BAM) Manifesto. It is our hope this Code of Excellence will articulate the incredible, impactful work being done within our Freedom Businesses around the world, and serve as a rallying point, propelling continued excellence and improvement among current and prospective industry leaders as they go about the work of growing the number of`employment opportunities to survivors.


In creating this Freedom Business Code of Excellence, FBA reviewed a number of existing standards, charters, best practices and other similar documents on subject matter relevant to the work of Freedom Business. These include the documents of the Business as Mission movement, World Fair Trade Organization Fair Trade Standard 1 and World Fair Trade Organization Code of Practice (ethical business and fair trade), 2 World Economic Forum’s Four Pillars and Consultation Draft on “Toward Common Metrics and Consistent Reporting of Sustainable Value Creation” (sustainable 3 business) and Chab Dai Charter (anti-trafficking). 4 Next, invitations were extended to all Members of Freedom Business Alliance to participate in three online roundtable meetings to discuss which commitments Freedom Businesses should uphold in the conduct of their business and how they commit to care for their Personnel. The roundtable meetings were attended by leaders of Freedom Businesses of varying sizes that have operated over varying lengths of time in different industries and geographical regions. The Stakeholders of Freedom Businesses were identified in the first roundtable meeting. These included Beneficiary Personnel, board members of Freedom Businesses, consumers, investors, and NGO partners. Stakeholders were engaged through various methods, including surveys, focus groups and interviews. They were asked about what commitments were important to them in their consideration of, or relationship with, Freedom Business. The method of Stakeholder engagement varied depending on the particular Stakeholder group and other ethical considerations and best practices. The draft Code of Excellence was circulated to all Members of Freedom Businesses, who were invited to provide input before a final draft was created. The final draft was submitted for approval to the Board of FBA prior to publication.


The Freedom Business Code of Excellence contains ongoing, actionable Commitments which Freedom Businesses agree to publicly endorse and implement in their businesses. Many of the Commitments apply to all forms of Freedom Businesses, while some Commitments apply to designated subgroups of Freedom Businesses. These subgroups are defined in the Application section, usually depending on the nature of their business. Some Commitments apply immediately, while others allow for compliance to be attained over a predetermined time frame. There are also Commitments which require Freedom Businesses to demonstrate continuous improvement over time. These varying standards are delineated under each Commitment. Review and Updates: The first version of the Freedom Business Code of Excellence was published in November 2021. FBA desires for the Freedom Business Code of Excellence to reflect contemporary circumstances and best practices of Freedom Businesses. Accordingly, this document will be reviewed and updated periodically.



In general, the Freedom Business Code of Excellence applies to all categories of Freedom Business. These categories are described below and defined in the Definitions section of this Code of Excellence. There are some Commitments which apply only to those categories of Freedom Businesses which directly employ and/or provide vocational training to Beneficiary Personnel in their workplace. The following subsections provide an introduction to the practice of Freedom Business and the distinction between a Freedom Business Enterprise, Freedom Business Champion, Freedom Business Initiative, and Freedom Business Startup, all of which uphold the Freedom Business Code of Excellence.

Freedom Business – Freedom Business as a practice exists to create employment opportunities for survivors of Human Trafficking and those At Risk, with intent and operations that uphold the Freedom Business Code of Excellence.

Freedom Business Enterprise – A Freedom Business Enterprise exists for the purpose of directly employing and/or providing vocational training for survivors of Human Trafficking and those At Risk. These organizations offer more than just a job, but a place of healing and growth, governed by the Freedom Business Code of Excellence. These organizations form the core of the Freedom Business movement. Where most businesses seek to hire the best and most qualified, a Freedom Business Enterprise seeks to hire those who are often underskilled and have experienced trauma and Human Trafficking. These individuals require extra support and services to cope with a work environment, heal, and succeed, both personally and professionally. The list of interventions and ethical considerations required to create positive impact in their lives has developed over time as these organizations, in cooperation with industry researchers, learn more about the process of healing and development in the workplace. But one thing is certain: the path of growth for a Freedom Business Enterprise is challenging and requires committed investment of resources to create transformed lives.

Freedom Business Champion- A Freedom Business Champion is an organization that supports, facilitates and extends the work of Freedom Business Enterprises, primarily in the area of generating market demand for their goods and services. Freedom Business Champions play a vital role in job creation. While some Freedom Businesses are vertically integrated, many are not and require partnership with Freedom Business Champions to bring their products or services to market and generate sufficient revenue to grow and create more jobs. Freedom Business Champions do not employ Beneficiary Personnel unless otherwise indicated, but they are vital to the success and job creation efforts of those who do.

Freedom Business Initiative – A Freedom Business Initiative exists to create jobs for survivors of Human Trafficking and those At Risk. It is undertaken by an organization which exists for some other central purpose, but has elected to help end Human Trafficking through job creation as a part of its commitment to corporate social responsibility.

Freedom Business Initiatives are vital to scaling the number of jobs created for survivors and those At Risk and require support and investment from the parent organization to succeed. However, it is primarily the Freedom Business Initiative, rather than the entire organization that must uphold the Freedom Business Code of Excellence. Freedom Business Startup A Freedom Business Startup is a Freedom Business that has not started operations or has been in operation for less than 12 months. Their inclusion is vital to the growth of Freedom Business globally and vital to their own growth. These organizations require guidance and support at this critical, early phase. Yet because operations are in the early stages, many of the Guidelines within the Code of Excellence will not fully apply. Therefore these early stage Freedom Businesses have been given their own designation.

Download or read full Code of Excellence here.