End Modern Slavery Initiative Act

On Tuesday, February 24, 2015, Senator Corker introduced bold, bipartisan legislation to help eliminate slavery and human trafficking around the globe. With incredible support from countless individuals, organizations and faith-based institutions, authorizing legislation for the End Modern Slavery Initiative was included in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2017 (NDAA), which overwhelmingly passed the Senate on December 8, 2016. The legislation was signed into law by the president on December 23, 2016. Follow the conversation online using the hashtags #EndSlaveryAct and #EndItMovement.

“Today more than 27 million people, many of them women and children, suffer under forced labor and sexual servitude in over 165 countries around the world, including our own,” said Corker. “As I have seen firsthand, the stark reality of modern slavery is unconscionable, demanding the United States and civilized world make a commitment to end it for good. Despite the pervasive nature of this horrific practice, modern slavery is a crime of opportunity that thrives where enforcement is weak, so raising the risk of prosecution can achieve significant results. By providing strong U.S. leadership and leveraging our limited foreign aid dollars, this initiative will work with foreign governments and philanthropic organizations to match the funding being provided by the United States and create a coordinated effort to implement best practices to eliminate modern slavery and human trafficking around the globe.” 

Background: Over 27 million people are trapped in the multi-billion dollar modern slave trade industry. Although slavery is illegal in every corner of the world, this crime of opportunity exists in more than 165 countries, including our own, and thrives most where enforcement is weak, whether due to indifference, corruption or lack of resources. While U.S. government agencies and many groups and organizations have taken significant steps toward fighting modern slavery, we need to take our efforts to the next level. The United States cannot meet this challenge alone, so Senator Corker introduced “The End Modern Slavery Initiative Act” – bold, bipartisan legislation to create a focused, sustained effort in concert with the private sector and foreign governments to eliminate sexual and labor human slavery worldwide. This model is designed to leverage limited foreign aid dollars and galvanize tremendous support and investment from the public sector, philanthropic organizations and the private sector to focus resources responsibly where this crime is most prevalent. This effort also complements other legislation focused on improving enforcement within the United States.

The End Modern Slavery Initiative: The legislation authorizes funding for a non-profit, grant-making foundation in the District of Columbia that will fund programs and projects outside the United States. These programs will:

  • Contribute to the freeing and sustainable recovery of victims of modern slavery, prevent individuals from being enslaved, and enforce laws to punish individual and corporate perpetrators of modern slavery;
  • Set clear, defined goals and outcomes that can be empirically measured; and
  • Seek to achieve a measurable 50 percent reduction of modern slavery in the areas the foundation operates.

Funding: The initiative will seek to raise $1.5 billion, more than 80 percent of which will come through matching funds from the private sector and foreign governments. Sources of funding are as follows:

  • $250 million in funds from the United States over several years ($50 million has been appropriated through fiscal year 2017)
  • $500 million from foreign governments (Double the investment of U.S. funds) 
  • $750 million in private funding (Triple the investment of U.S. funds)

Monitoring and Evaluation: Progress will be tracked against baseline data with a goal of achieving a 50 percent reduction in slavery. Projects that fail to meet goals will be suspended or terminated. The foundation is required to comply with the Government Accountability Office’s mandate to conduct financial audits and program evaluations.