Freedom From Slavery Forum

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2021 Forum Sponsors

The 2021 Freedom From Slavery Forums are funded by generous grants from The Elkes Foundation and The Freedom Fund.

The Elkes Foundation

2020 Forum

“Opportunities in an Age of Adaptation”

The 8th annual Freedom from Slavery Forum happened in a unique and exceptional environment. Countries have taken measures to contain the COVID-19 global pandemic, but modern-day slavery including sexual slavery, forced labor and human trafficking has grown worse as proven by several research findings and every-day facts. Civil society organizations are at the front of the fight, but are experiencing increased demand for services while facing a decrease in funding, driving an urgent need for innovation in advocacy and other programmatic design and delivery.

It is in this climate of adaptation that the 8th annual Forum adapted to the realities imposed by the global pandemic. This year’s virtual forum was an opportunity to increase participation, interaction, networking, learning and sharing.

Four Days | 90-minute sessions


How can we define and measure the drivers of modern slavery and the impact of interventions in ways that shape policy decisions, generate funding and inform the design of front-line interventions?

  • Moderator: Davina Durgana | Minderoo Foundation/Walk Free
  • Keynote Address: Kevin Bales | University of Nottingham Rights Lab
  • Panelists:
    • David Okech | Univ. of Georgia African Programming & Research Initiative to End Slavery
    • Michaëlle De Cock | International Labor Organization
    • Alice Eckstein | United Nations University Center for Policy Research, Delta 8.7


How have the U.S. Trafficking Victims Protection Act and U.N. Palermo Protocol, now 20 years old, shaped the anti-slavery movement? How can we galvanize coordinated global action to more effectively serve enslaved individuals and vulnerable populations? Presented in partnership with the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition at Yale University.

  • Moderator: Luis C.deBaca | Yale University
  • Keynote Addresses:
    • Hillary Rodham Clinton | Former U.S. Secretary of State (pre-recorded)
    • Anousheh Karvar | Alliance 8.7
  • Panelists:
    • David Blight | Yale University
    • Cheryl Perera | OneChild Canada
    • Charolette Oldham Moore | U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Staff
    • Deepika Mittal | Global March Against Child Labor
    • Joha Braimah | Free the Slaves


How can we achieve stronger survivor engagement and leadership in the anti-slavery movement in advocacy, research, policymaking, awareness-raising and project implementation?

  • Moderator: Tina Frundt | Courtney’s House
  • Keynote Address: Deborah Pembrook | Monterey County California Rape Crisis Center
  • Panelists:
    • Sophie Otiende | Protection Practitioner
    • Ima Matul | National Survivor Network at the Coalition to Abolish Slavery & Trafficking
    • Sarah Bessell: Human Trafficking Legal Center


What is the movement’s financial future in the face of challenges imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic, and what must funders do to keep the movement resourced?

  • Moderator: Cheryl Perera | OneChild Canada
  • Keynote Addresses:
    • Geannina Dinarte Romero | Costa Rica Minister of Labor & Social Security (pre-recorded)
    • John Cotton Richmond | U.S. State Dept. Office to Monitor/Combat Trafficking in Persons
  • Panelists:
    • Nick Grono | Freedom Fund
    • Dominique Chauvet-Staco | Pathy Family Foundation
    • Vijay Simhan | Humanity United
    • Kevin Willcutts | U.S. Labor Department International Labor Affairs Bureau


What Past Attendees Say:

“There is a wealth of information to be had on the sector, and groups are doing outstanding work to end slavery and trafficking worldwide. It takes events like this forum for the sector to grow and strengthen.”

“It is wonderful to see the increasing collaborations, maturity and sophistication of the movement. This forum shows all that.”

“Really great prep work going into it and very solid proceedings at the event. Good meetings don’t happen magically — this was very well guided.”

“The opportunity to meet colleagues working in trafficking and the anti-slavery movement was the most valuable aspect of the forum for me.”

“There’s something to be said for connecting with colleagues and hearing about their work in person versus over email or over the phone.”

“Thank you for making us all part of an amazing family! That’s what it feels like to me!”