Our next move: GFEMS makes first investments in East Africa

Our next move: GFEMS makes first investments in East Africa

  • Commercial Sexual Exploitation
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  • Domestic Work
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  • Ethical Recruitment
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    The Global Fund to End Modern Slavery (GFEMS) is excited to share the launch of a new portfolio of investments in Kenya and Uganda. These new projects represent the growth of the Fund into East Africa and a significant expansion to our growing portfolio since our first investments in Asia in late 2018.

    With support from the U.S. Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, GFEMS is pleased to be funding nine new projects and working with seven new partners in East Africa. The portfolio totals nearly $10M USD.

    “This is a significant moment for GFEMS as we grow and make progress towards our vision of ending modern slavery. These innovative investments will be a powerful step forward and reflect our unwavering commitment to ensuring local leadership and solutions that are sustainable and tailored to the needs of the populations we serve. We are excited to launch these projects with our fantastic partners and the support of the U.S. State Department, ” said Alex Thier, GFEMS CEO.

    These innovative investments will be a powerful step forward and reflect our unwavering commitment to ensuring local leadership and solutions that are sustainable and tailored to the needs of the populations we serve.

    — Alex Thier, CEO

    These investments focus on two of the Fund’s key sectors– enhancing ethical recruitment and combating sex trafficking.  These efforts are intended to reduce the vulnerability of people to trafficking, forced labor, and exploitation and to support survivors; reduce the market pressure for sex trafficking and impossibly cheap labor; and improve the enabling environment to ensure good laws and regulations are properly enforced, and impunity for traffickers is ended. Learn more about Our Approach.


    • International Organization for Migration (Kenyaand Uganda):Ethical recruitment is a key to disrupting forced labor and debt bondage. Our project with IOM will work with recruitment agencies to foster ethical practices while supporting government actors to create accountability with new recruitment oversight mechanisms.
    • International Associate of Women Judges (Kenya and Uganda): Labor trafficking among migrant workers is a complex, cross-border phenomenon. Information gaps and lack of coordination among law enforcement and judicial stakeholders hamper effective identification and prosecution of traffickers and prevalence reduction efforts. GFEMS and IAWJ will work together to bridge these information gaps and strengthen judicial and law enforcement response to trafficking cases. 
    • Terre des Hommes (Kenya and Uganda): Comprehensive efforts to combat sex trafficking need to include long term survivor support and community engagement. Terres des Hommes and GFEMS are focusing on skilling and livelihood training  for survivors for long-term employment and building a proactive and supportive community through community-based prevention 
    • Hope for Justice (Uganda): Putting the needs and wellbeing of survivors first is a critical part of addressing sex trafficking. This project aims to not only provide rehabilitation services to survivors, but to improve the standards of care within the region to prioritize survivor-informed practices. 
    • International Justice Mission (Kenya): Improving coordination among different actors in the justice system– prosecutors, law enforcement, social workers– is essential not only to deterring trafficking, but for increasing survivor confidence in the justice system. Together with IJM, GFEMS is working to build community and survivor confidence in the criminal justice system, increase capacity of local law enforcement to investigate and prosecute sex trafficking, and to develop new victim-centered standard operating procedures for victim case management.
    • Willow International (Uganda): To build resiliency against unethical recruitment and risk of trafficking, migrant workers need end-to-end support. Willow and GFEMS are working to build community resilience against exploitative recruitment for vulnerable populations in Uganda by providing pre-labor migration support, training, and resources, and rehabilitation and reintegration services for survivors.
    • Awareness Against Human Trafficking (HAART) (Kenya): Reducing vulnerability to trafficking includes safely rehabilitating and reintegrating survivors into their community. GFEMS and HAART are working to support survivors in their reintegration journey, and empower vulnerable populations by driving their employability in safe jobs. 

    Across these projects and the Fund’s wider portfolio, GFEMS designs programs and strategies for future investments with systemic change and sustainability in mind. Our funding focuses on projects with high potential for replication and scale, and identifies opportunities to leverage national priorities and market demands. All projects are informed by, and tailored to, the populations that GFEMS seeks to serve. Through our partnership with the U.S. Department of State, GFEMS is working to establish sustainable change in at-risk communities, criminal justice reform, and survivor care through increased government, private sector, and community engagement.  

    GFEMS will continue to share information about our portfolio, partners, and impact.

    Subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn for updates on the latest developments, news, and opportunities with GFEMS. 

    This article was funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of State. The opinions, findings and conclusions stated herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of State.

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