"In 2017, as most of you know, more than 27 million people — many of them women and children — around the world live in slavery," Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., said in a press conference. "This is more than — more people in slavery than at any time in the world's history."
The fund supports programs that hold perpetrators accountable, engages with businesses to prevent slavery in supply chains and helps survivors of modern slavery stay free.
U.S. Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee played a role in the State Department's decision. He's chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and championed funding for the cause.
The International Labor Organization reports almost 21 million people are victims of forced labor. ILO says the main industries of concern are domestic work, agriculture, construction, manufacturing and entertainment.
The State Department defines modern slavery and human trafficking as compelled labor or exploitation that's forced under duress, coercion or fraud.
The organization also estimates forced labor generates $150 billion in illegal profits every year.
Global Fund says it will work with the State Department to encourage other governments and entities to support the movement.
"This is, from our perspective, a truly monumental day," Corker said.