United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund on Contemporary Forms of Slavery - Decision Making
The UN Voluntary Trust Fund on Contemporary Forms of Slavery is subject to UN Rules and Regulations, and is managed by the United Nations Secretary-General through the OHCHR, with the advice of a Board of Trustees composed of five independent experts. The Board meets once a year to determine priorities, review its policies and practices and adopt recommendations on grants (November session).
Grants are awarded on a yearly basis, and can be renewed if conditions are met. A call for proposals is issued every year in the spring. Applications may be submitted in English, French, Spanish.
Between June and December, the Secretariat of the Fund analyses applications submitted as well as narrative, financial and audit reports on the use of the previous grants, and organizes pre-screening visits to projects of new applicants as well as regular monitoring visits to the Fund’s grantees.
The recommendations on grants adopted by the Board in December are endorsed by the Secretary-General. As a rule, grants are disbursed in the first months of the following year.
The Board of Trustees
In accordance with General Assembly resolution 46/122, the Board of Trustees is comprised of a Chairperson and four members representing each of the five geographical regions (Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Western European and Other States). Board members are appointed by the Secretary-General from amongst experts with wide experience in the field of human rights, in particular contemporary forms of slavery and its effects on individuals, families and communities, and ideally with knowledge of fundraising and project management. Appointments are for a period of three years, which can be renewed once.
The composition of the current Board is as follows:
Mr. Danwood Mzikenge Chirwa (Malawi) is a professor in public law at, and a former Head of, the Department of Public Law at the University of Cape Town. He has also worked with a variety of international and African non-governmental organizations. Mr. Chirwa is the former Secretary-General of the African Network of Constitutional Lawyers, and has served as a member of board of directors for a number of organisations including the Open Democracy Advice Centre, the Resources Aimed at the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (RAPCAN), and the Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa (SERI). He is the author of various publications on international law, in particular children rights.
Mr. Chirwa became a member of the Board of Trustees in 2017
Ms. Renu Rajbhandari (Nepal) is a medical doctor and women’s rights advocate. She is the founder of the Women’s Rehabilitation Centre (WOREC) in Nepal. She has developed with WOREC a preventive health and treatment program for rural marginalized Nepalese women, including former prostitutes with AIDS. She was the first national rapporteur against trafficking in women in Nepal. She advocates for the defense of the rights of women, in particular victims of trafficking, in her country and abroad. She is also an Executive Committee member of the Migrant Forum Asia and a member of the Women Human Right Defenders International Coalition.
Ms. Rajbhandari has been a member of the Board of Trustees since 2015.
Mr. Leonardo Sakamoto (Brazil) is a journalist and doctor in political science. He has covered different conflict situations in East Timor, Angola and Pakistan. Since 2003, he has been a member of the Brazilian National Commission for the Eradication of Slave Labour. He is also the Chairman of the NGO Repórter Brasil, specialized in combating forced labour. Mr. Sakamoto has written several articles and books, particularly related to slave labour. Currently, he is a journalism professor at the Catholic University of São Paulo. He writes about human rights daily in the main Brazilian news website.
Mr. Sakamoto has been a member of the Board of Trustees since 2014.
Ms. Georgina Vaz-Cabral (France) is a French lawyer, currently servicing as Adviser to the Special Representative and Co-ordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. She is one of the founders of a renowned anti-slavery NGO, Comité Contre l’Esclavage Moderne and has served in the Group of Experts on Trafficking in Human Being of the European Commission. She is the author of various publications on trafficking- and slavery-related issues including: “La traite des êtres humains : Réalités de l’esclavage contemporain”.
Ms. Vaz-Cabral has become a member of the Board of Trustees since 2017.
Ms. Nevena Vuckovic Sahovic (Serbia) is a human rights lawyer and children rights expert. She was a member of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child from 2003 until 2009. She is one of the founding members of the Child Rights Centre in Belgrade. She worked with major human rights NGOs in her country and abroad. She worked with UNICEF on issues related to child trafficking and exploitation, and international adoption, among others. She has participated in the “Ottawa Process” that led to the prohibition of anti-personnel mines, and in the drafting of the “Yogyakarta Principles” relating to sexual orientation and gender identity issues. She is also a member of the Expert Committee of the International Children's Peace Prize. She is an international law professor at the UNION University of Belgrade and the Head of the Master on the Rights of the Child.
Ms. Vuckovic Sahovic has been a member of the Board of Trustees since 2014 and its Chairperson since 2015.
The Board of Trustees has met annually since 1997 to consider new or ongoing project applications, approve the extension of grants, set guidelines for applicants including admissibility criteria and consider policy issues in relation to the Fund and the rehabilitation of victims of modern slavery.
During its meetings, the Board holds consultations with donors. The Board also meets with project leaders of funded organisations in order to better understand the complexities that are faced by organizations providing services to victims of modern slavery. Board members participate in visits to projects in the field.
The Secretariat is composed of staff members of OHCHR, who are responsible for all administrative functions of the Fund and are the first point of contact between the Board of Trustees and organizations.
The Secretariat monitors and evaluates the use of grants, including through project visits, pre-screens new projects applications, maintains contacts with other institutional donors in the field of assistance to victims of torture as well as donors to the Fund, prepares annual reports on the Fund, keeps abreast of the jurisprudence on contemporary forms of slavery and services the sessions of the Board.
The Secretariat can be reached at: