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In 2017 the TIP Office launched the Program to End Modern Slavery (PEMS), a groundbreaking U.S. foreign assistance program authorized and funded by Congress with a total of $125 million to date.  The Program aims to support transformational efforts that seek to achieve a measurable and substantial reduction of the prevalence of modern slavery—also known as human trafficking—in targeted populations in specific countries or regions worldwide.

Following an open and competitive selection process, the TIP Office awarded $25 million to the nongovernmental organization—Global Fund to End Modern Slavery (the Global Fund or GFEMS)—to administer a three-year PEMS program that began in October 2017.  GFEMS is currently administering $10.5 million in sub-grants and contracts focused on reducing trafficking of overseas Filipino and Vietnamese migrant workers; combating sex trafficking in Maharashtra, India and Vietnam; and addressing forced labor in the apparel and construction sectors of Vietnam and India, respectively.  The program will also include robust monitoring and evaluation and contribute data, analysis, and best practices via a global data platform, and the Global Fund intends to issue approximately $6 million in additional sub-grants.

Following a second open and competitive selection process in 2018 the TIP Office awarded $21 million to the Global Fund for a four-year project  with the aim of scaling up its existing sub-grant activities,  expanding to other regions and/or sectors, and continuing its donor leveraging efforts.  The TIP Office also awarded $4 million to the University of Georgia Research Foundation to measure prevalence in two select African countries and to administer sub-grants in these countries.  The University of Georgia is currently focused on addressing child sex and labor trafficking in Sierra Leone and Guinea.

The transformational nature of PEMS is reflected, in part, in its intent to attract other donor resources.  In September 2017, the UK announced a £20 million ($27 million) investment to the Global Fund; Norway announced a 100 million kroner ($11.6 million) contribution in November 2018.

The third open and competitive PEMS selection process in 2019  resulted in a $15.75 million dollar award to University of Georgia Research Foundation  (UGA) and a $7 million award to the Freedom Fund .  The University of Georgia will retain its focus on Sub-Saharan Africa, as well as develop and convene a new Prevalence Reduction Innovation Forum to support targeted human trafficking prevalence estimates throughout the world.  The Freedom Fund will use this award to support prevalence reduction efforts via the organization’s ‘hotspot’ strategy in a select region or corridor.  Both awards will help grantees to continue developing methodologies to measure prevalence and administer sub-grants that will strengthen and broaden efforts to measurably reduce the prevalence of human trafficking.

The TIP Office selected the Warnath Group and Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) as the new 2020 PEMS awardees.  The Warnath Group received $15 million to carry out a variety of activities over the next five years to combat child sex trafficking in two hotspot provinces of Costa Rica—Puntarenas and Guanacaste.  Activities will span the 3Ps of prosecution, protection, and prevention, with an emphasis on intensive training and technical assistance for Costa Rican criminal justice actors, government, and social service providers.  IPA received $5.61 million to support impact evaluations and expand evidence on what programs work to prevent and prosecute human trafficking and to protect victims around the world.

The TIP Office has made an additional $4 million investment to the Africa Programming and Research Initiative to End Slavery (APRIES) at the University of Georgia (UGA) to expand programming and research efforts in West Africa, as well as support research efforts under the Prevalence Reduction Innovation Forum.

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future