One thing that's always confused me during Star Wars was the fact that NO ONE freed or even did anything to help Shmi. I mean, this is the mother of the Chosen One. Why didn't the Jedi do anything? I know that they aren't supposed to interact with their original family but they couldn't have at least sent some credits or at least have done something. For that matter, why didn't one of Anakin's AMAZING connections/friends do anything either. One of his mentors was the Chancellor of the Galactic Republic. Padme, the Queen of Naboo saw for herself the pitiful condition of her friend's former life. I don't understand. Why didn't anyone do anything?
This is covered in the Episode II Novelisation. Shortly after Anakin left with the Jedi, Shmi met Cliegg Lars and fell in love with him, ultimately securing her freedom and marrying him. Although there's no specifics about timescale, the implication is that she was freed within a few months of Anakin leaving:
She had done the right thing concerning her son, Shmi told herself with every step. They had been slaves, with no prospects of finding their freedom other than the offer of the Jedi. How could she have kept Anakin here on Tatooine, when Jedi Knights were promising him all of his dreams?
Of course, at that time, Shmi had not known that she would meet Cliegg Lars that fateful day in Mos Espa, and that the moisture farmer would fall in love with her, buy her from Watto, and free her, and only then, once she was a free woman, ask her to marry him. Would she have let Anakin go if she had known the changes that would come into her life so soon after his departure?
As to why she didn't seek passage off of Tatooine to join him, the answer is that she doesn't want her presence to interfere with the amazing destiny that Qui-Gon told her about:
It was his special way, and that was why the Jedi who had come to Tatooine had recognized the unique nature of the boy and had freed him from Watto and taken him into their care and instruction. “I had to let him go,” Shmi said quietly. “I could not keep him with me, if that meant living the life of a slave.”
“I know,” Owen assured her.
“I could not have kept him with me even if we were not slaves,” she went on, and she looked at Owen, as if her own words had surprised her. “Annie has so much to give to the galaxy. His gifts could not be contained by Tatooine. He belongs out there, flying across the stars, saving planets. He was born to be a Jedi, born to give so much more to so many more.”
It's worthy of note that according to an account in Star Wars: Queen's Shadow Senator Amidala did send her envoy Sabé to try to locate Shmi Skywalker, but because Watto had already moved out of his shop and because Sabé accidentally alienated the local slave population, she was unable to find anyone willing to help her.
“Do you have anything new to report?” Padmé asked, and Sabé knew what information her friend was after.
“I’m sorry, Padmé,” Sabé replied. “I couldn’t find her.”
On the holo, Padmé’s shoulders rounded forward as she slumped.
“Did she die?” Padmé asked after a moment.
“No,” Sabé said. “Not from what I can tell.”
She’d made Tonra check the cemeteries after she checked them twice herself. Enslaved people weren’t allowed very much on Tatooine, but they were allowed to set up markers for each other when they died, and so they usually did.
“How can a person, even an enslaved one, just disappear?” Padmé asked.
“It was my fault,” Sabé said. “We came at this all wrong and made mistakes from the moment we got here. The Toydarian was gone, and I spent too much time trying to talk to his cronies. I know there are beings on Tatooine who oppose slavery, but they don’t trust me because I talked to the scum who profit from it, and frankly I don’t blame them.”
“I know you tried,” Padmé said, and the absolution only burned.
“I know the junk dealer lost her,” Sabé said. “I don’t know if it was another stupid bet or if he actually sold her, but I know she’s not here. I just don’t know where she ended up.”