U.S. Government and the Freedom Fund To Partner in the Global Fight Against Modern Slavery

Office To Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
September 19, 2016

Washington, DC - Today, the U.S. Department of State signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Freedom Fund – a leading philanthropic anti-slavery initiative supported by a group of influential private investors including Humanity United, the Legatum Foundation, the Minderoo Foundation, the Stardust Fund, and the Children's Investment Fund Foundation. The aim of this partnership is to maximize impact through closer coordination of government and private donor initiatives in the fight against modern slavery.

Human trafficking remains a global scourge, facilitated and fueled by a growing supply of vulnerable individuals and a lack of transparency and standards in global business, manufacturing and trade practices. Millions of men, women, and children are trapped in fishing fleets and sweatshops, in mines and brothels, and on farms and plantations in countries across the world.

Within the Department of State, and under the direction of Ambassador Susan Coppedge, the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (TIP Office) partners with foreign governments, international organizations, civil society, and the private sector to develop and implement effective strategies for confronting modern slavery. The TIP Office is responsible for bilateral and multilateral diplomacy, targeted foreign assistance, and public engagement on trafficking in persons.

Ambassador Coppedge welcomed the agreement, noting, “I am delighted to join forces with the Freedom Fund, which combines innovative community-based projects fighting trafficking on the ground with top-level research and global initiatives. Our agreement is an important vehicle for effective public-private partnership, bringing to the table some of the leading private sector players in this field.”

Freedom Fund CEO Nick Grono stated: “This agreement is an excellent opportunity to pool expertise and align efforts with the TIP Office, who are at the forefront of the international drive to eradicate modern slavery. We look forward to increasing our joint impact in the fight against modern slavery through this collaboration.”

To pilot closer donor collaboration, the Freedom Fund and the TIP Office will initially focus on human trafficking in the seafood sector, which has been identified as a top priority for the U.S. government. The Freedom Fund is already engaged in the issue through its Thai Seafood Hotspot Program, which partners with and invests in local NGOs to combat human trafficking and labor exploitation in Thailand’s seafood sector.

During the fall of 2016, the TIP Office plans to launch a collection of programs aimed at combating human trafficking in the seafood industry across Southeast Asia.

For more information, contact:

Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons Press Officer Mai Shiozaki at shiozakim@state.gov.

The Freedom Fund: Erin Phelps, ephelps@freedomfund.org, +1 (929) 244-9722