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"Row For Freedom," Supported by ManpowerGroup, Achieves Double World Record-Breaking Feat

"Row For Freedom," Supported by ManpowerGroup, Achieves Double World Record-Breaking Feat

Sheer Human Spirit Sees Team of Five Complete Epic 3,000-mile Voyage to Shine International Spotlight on Issue of Human Trafficking

ManpowerGroup (NYSE: MAN), the world leader in innovative workforce solutions, is delighted to announce that the Row for Freedom team has set a double world record in completing their epic endeavor to row 3,000 miles unaided across the Atlantic Ocean. After 45 gruelling days at sea, the courageous and determined team of five ordinary women became the fastest female crew to cross the Atlantic Ocean, and the first female five to row any ocean.

Julia Immonen, Debbie Beadle, Helen Leigh, Kate Richardson and Katie Pattison-Hart elevated the issue of human trafficking on the global agenda by rowing 24 hours a day — two hours on, two hours off — in The Guardian, Supported by ManpowerGroup, and battling 30-foot waves, violent sea sickness, sleep deprivation, the failure of their steering system and their water-maker catching fire, requiring a laborious hand-pumping process to produce vital drinking water.

The team finished in a creditable fifth place after making the crossing from the Canary Islands to Barbados on a route previously part of the Atlantic slave trade in a time of 45 days, 15 hours and 26 minutes, including spending Christmas at sea, to raise money for ECPAT UK and the A21 campaign — two charities supporting victims of human trafficking and forced labor.       

"This is a truly outstanding example of how the unbreakable human spirit can overcome all obstacles as five brave women endured everything the ocean could throw at them to achieve this record-breaking feat," said David Arkless, President Global Corporate and Government Affairs at ManpowerGroup and President of the End Human Trafficking Now campaign. "More people have gone into space or scaled Mount Everest than rowed an ocean, yet the Row For Freedom team has made the impossible humanly possible to help exploited individuals have a better chance at earning a safe and dignified living."

Friends and family of the five women were in Barbados to greet them as they crossed the finish line, marking an emotional climax to their epic voyage. You can view a video of the women's triumphant arrival in Port St. Charles, Barbados, at:

"We are blown away to have achieved two world records. These are an added bonus to our most important goal — to raise awareness of the horrific crime of women, men and children being sold, exploited and trafficked around the world," said 30-year-old Row for Freedom skipper Debbie Beadle. "It's overwhelming to see our families and friends. Our bodies are falling apart — we're waking up with our hands cramped into the rowing position and our backs aching."

"Human trafficking is the second-largest criminal industry in the world today, and is the fastest growing. We all have a responsibility — as corporations, governments and individuals — to help end these crimes against human decency," added Arkless. "The outstanding efforts of these five women are a reminder that anyone anywhere can make a difference."

Contemporary slavery takes various forms and affects people of all ages, sex and race. Across the world products such as cotton, leather goods, tobacco, rubber and cocoa are still being produced using child labor or forced labor. ManpowerGroup is actively involved in the End Human Trafficking Now Campaign, the Not For Sale Campaign and was the first company to sign the Athens Ethical Principles, which declare a "zero tolerance" policy on working with any organization that benefits in any way from human trafficking. 


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