The United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund on Contemporary Forms of Slavery- What the Fund is
“Many women and children are victims of abuse each year. A supposedly more civilised world has not been able to lessen the levels of suffering too many experience. I was pleased to have the opportunity to meet the very committed people who are working so hard to help victims of slavery and to confront those who abuse their fellow human-beings. There are many dedicated people working against the horror of contemporary slavery and they are deserving of support from the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund on Contemporary Forms of Slavery and elsewhere.”
Ms. Prateep Ungsongtham Hata
Trustee of the Voluntary Trust Fund on
Contemporary Forms of Slavery 2005-10
The UN Slavery Trust Fund was established in 1991 by General Assembly resolution 46/122.
It is mandated to distribute voluntary contributions through established channels of assistance, that in turn would provide “humanitarian, legal and financial aid to individuals whose human rights have been severely violated as a result of contemporary forms of slavery, and their relatives who have been directly affected by the victim’s suffering.
Contemporary forms of slavery which qualify for project grants include traditional slavery, serfdom, servitude, forced labour, debt bondage, the worst forms of child labour, forced and early marriage, the sale of wives and inherited widows, trafficking in persons for exploitation, including removal of human organs, sexual slavery, sale of children, commercial sexual exploitation of children and children in armed conflict.
The distinctive value of the Fund is its ability to provide assistance to the victims of contemporary forms of slavery. The Fund is unique within the United Nations system since its victim-oriented approach has allowed it to channel funds to those in most need of assistance, such as vulnerable groups in society, including children, women, indigenous peoples and minority groups.
With its holistic, dynamic and integrated approach, the Fund bridges the gaps not addressed by other UN programmes. Taking into account the root causes of slavery, most projects address security, educational, and psychological needs of victims, supported by the Fund by providing legal aid or humanitarian assistance.
Over the years, the Trust Fund has provided support to approximately 500 projects which directly assisted thousands of victims, as well as potential victims, of contemporary forms of slavery in more than 90 countries in all regions of the world. As a practice, the Trust Fund grants a maximum amount of $15,000.
The Trust Fund is subject to UN Rules and Regulations, and is managed by the United Nations Secretary-General through OHCHR, with the advice of a Board of Trustees. The Board meets once a year in Geneva to determine priorities, review its policies and practices and adopt recommendations on grants.
Grants of an average of USD9 500 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 UN Slavery Trust Fund analyses new applications as well as narrative, financial and audit reports on the use of previous grants. It also organizes pre-screening visits to project of new applicants and regular monitoring visits to the Fund’s grantees.
The recommendations on grants adopted by the Board of Trustees, in December are transmitted to the Secretary-General for his approval. As a rule, grants are disbursed in the first months of the following year.