The International Labor Organization estimates that nearly 25 million children and adults of all ages and backgrounds are victims of human trafficking, including forced labor and sex trafficking, worldwide. It will take a widespread effort by governments, businesses, and other stakeholders to stop these heinous crimes.
The Global Fund to End Modern Slavery (GFEMS) is a bold public-private partnership developing a $1.5 billion fund to coordinate a coherent, global strategy to end modern slavery by making it economically unprofitable. GFEMS works across sectors and geographies focusing on three core programmatic pillars: rule of law, business engagement, and sustaining freedom. With impressive funding commitments from the governments of the UK, U.S., and Norway, GFEMS is scaling up its strategy of proactively engaging governments and private sector partners to fund transformative programs and technologies to reduce the prevalence of modern slavery.
To date, Lex Mundi member firms in four countries have worked to assist GFEMS to expand its critical mission. Jenner & Block LLP, Steptoe & Johnson, Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP, and Tilleke & Gibbins have all provided pro bono legal advice and counsel to the GFEMS team on a variety of topics including detailed guidance on compliance with government contracts in the U.S. and UK and advice on establishing potential branch entities in Singapore and Thailand.
"GFEMS is grateful to the member firms of Lex Mundi for their partnership and expertise," said Jean Baderschneider, CEO and Founding Board Member of GFEMS. "We continue to be inspired by our partners around the world who are mobilizing to help build and execute a global strategy to end modern slavery by making it economically unprofitable."
"Our pro bono work on behalf of GFEMS has been positive on all accounts," said Paul Hurst, a Partner in Steptoe & Johnson's Government Contracts practice. "Our team has been able to utilize our expertise in government contracting to help GFEMS establish innovative and impactful programs. Being a partner with an organization with such an important mission and impressive reach has been inspiring."