We are a global, action-driven network of Rotarians dedicated to freedom fighting, justice seeking, problem solving and advocating for basic human rights working together to abolish modern slavery.

Our History

The Rotarian Action Group Against Slavery (RAGAS) was launched informally at the Rotarian International Convention in 2009 in Birmingham, England, when Mark Little, supported by Stephen Sypula, Harry Payne, moved to put slavery back on RI’s agenda. With the support of all DG in RIBI, and motions to two Councils of Legislation, the dissolution of slavery was once again at the forefront of Rotary International’s goal. Twenty-four people expressed an early interest in creating a child slavery action body within Rotary International.

January 2013 RAGAS, formally recognized as a Rotarian Action Group by the Rotary International (RI) Board. Mr. Dave McCleary was appointed worldwide Vice Chair of Rotarians Against Slavery with the mission to engage 1.2 million Rotarians and 35,000 clubs on over 200 counties to take on the issues of ending modern day slavery.


History 2012


Opening of a library at a Girls Rehabilitation Centre called Balika Ashram again in Delhi.


Laura Dryjanska, our Coordinator in Italy was invited to attend Pope Francis’ first Vatican (Santa Marta) Conference on Human Trafficking; RAGAS Chair Mark Little together with RAGAS Board Judith Diment, Rotary International Representative to the Commonwealth of Nations both attended spoke and gave evidence to the second Santa Marta Conference in London, at which Past President John Kenny represented Rotary International.


RAGAS hosts the very 1st World Summit on Ending Human Trafficking.

RAGAS organized and chaired a World Summit with President Jimmy Carter and his Foundation, at which Past RI President KR Ravindran (Ravi). The Summit was held at the Carter Centre in Atlanta by President Jimmy Carter. The event was attended by several anti-slavery organizations, including: Polaris, International Justice Mission, UNICEF, Shared Hope International. The purpose of this summit to create action steps to solutions so communities around the world can begin to end human trafficking. The Summit on Ending Human Trafficking was a huge success with participation from 14 counties and 32 States with a focus on Business Engagement, Effective Law Enforcement, Legislation and Sustaining Freedom though empowering survivors.


Schools4freedom 2016 

Thanks to a RAGAS activist from Pennsylvania, who encouraged a plethora of Rotarians and others to provide upfront funding of some $36,000, a landmark project (School4Freedom) was conducted over a 3 year period with the objective of freeing an entire village from generational debt bondage in Uttar Pradesh, India. The budgeted sum was raised to provide funds for facilities to start a school, a salary for 2 teachers for three years, lunches for the children, vocational and educational supplies and equipment and the cost of front-line workers to organize and educate parents about their rights as Indian citizens, teach livelihood skills and how to access government services.

With the specialized expertise of RAGAS’s partner Voices4Freedom and MSEMVS in India, the project began in February 2016 in a village in Uttar Pradesh to help free children and adults enslaved in brick kilns, on farms and in the home of the slaveholder. The project was completed in January 2019 with all villagers having finally attained freedom from the slaveholder


2017 candlelight vigil Rotary International convention Chaired by Dave McCleary – RAGAS  – 12,000 in attendance
Watch The Video


2017 Rotary International Convention – RAGAS Organized the main panel with Actor, Ashton Kutcher, Senator Bob Corker, Gary Haugen, IJM, Rebecca Bender, Survivor Advacate.


Mr McCleary organized and moderated a panel for the US Attorney General in Washington DC
  • Moderator: Dave McCleary, Rotary Action Group Against Slavery
  • Shally Pannikode, Vice President of Information Technology, Anthem Inc.
  • Brent Wilton, Director of Workplace Rights, Coca Cola (confirmed)
  • Antigone Davis, Head of Global Safety, Facebook
  • Nicole Clifton, Vice President of Public Affairs, UPS
  • Audra Jenkins, Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer, Randstad North America
  • Richard Terry, Director of Line Operations, Delta Airlines


    White House Round Table on Human Trafficking

    Now the Global Chairman of Rotarians Against Slavery, Mr. McCleary was invited to the White House Round Table on Human Trafficking with the expressed goal to engage the business and Civic Communities in the fight to end Modern-Day Slavery.


    Rotary Action Group Against Slavery “RAGAS” VIRTUAL EVENT January, 2021 with Global leaders, Ambassador John Cotton Richmond, Val Richey (OSCE), Matt Friedman (Makong Club) with panels on Health Care, Survivor Services, Financial Services, Education/Prevention, Date to address Modern Slavery. Over 500 people from six continents attended the virtual event. 


    RAGAS global reach is supported by its active volunteer Coordinators and growing army of Ambassadors. These are based in the US, Italy, South Africa, India, Australia, and Oceania (New Zealand). RAGAS is seeking to extend its reach with more Coordinators and District Ambassadors. If you would like to join our growing reach and help extend Rotary’s impact.