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The Freedom Fund announces launch of their new program under the U.S. Department of State Program to End Modern Slavery (PEMS)

Press release
May 31, 2021

The Freedom Fund is excited to announce the launch of a new program, “Reducing the Prevalence of Domestic Servitude in Ethiopia,” funded by the U.S. Department of State Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (TIP Office), under their Program to End Modern Slavery (PEMS). The program aims to reduce trafficking of child domestic workers in Addis Ababa; and reduce trafficking of Ethiopians migrating to the Middle East as domestic workers from Addis Ababa and the Amhara region.

In 2015, the Freedom Fund established its Ethiopia hotspot program to address the trafficking of young women and girls to the Middle East for domestic work. Since then, the program has directly impacted over 140,000 people through its partnership with 12 frontline Ethiopian organizations. Today’s new program will support 13 frontline organizations across 16 projects and work in partnership with numerous stakeholders including the Ethiopian government at federal and local levels.

We are thrilled to announce the launch of this new program” said Daniel Melese, the Freedom Fund’s Ethiopia Country Representative. “We’re looking forward to working with our frontline partners to enable a better understanding of safer migration among vulnerable communities and tackle the systems that allow trafficking to persist. This program will also allow us to address the poor working conditions of child domestic workers and address issues of internal migration which remain underfunded in the context of Ethiopia.”

Specifically, the Child Domestic Workers Program looks to reduce the trafficking of Ethiopian girls into domestic servitude through:

  • Influencing the behavior of key stakeholders, primarily recruiters, transporters and employers;
  • Improving government ability to monitor child domestic workers’ conditions;
  • Building CSO capacity to incentivize government responsiveness and improve the legislative framework, including mechanisms for children’s participation in advocacy work;
  • Improving the quality of services provided to at-risk child domestic workers and survivors, especially access to education and vocational training.

Simultaneously, the Safer Migration Program, will prevent the trafficking of Ethiopian migrant domestic workers to the Middle East, through:

  • Building community understanding of safer migration;
  • Improving the functioning of the migration system in Ethiopia, such as supporting government responses, promoting fair and transparent recruitment practices, and strengthening law enforcement actions;
  • Strengthening the capacity of civil society actors to influence and hold the government accountable;
  • Improving access to and quality of reintegration services for returnees.

The “Reducing the Prevalence of Domestic Servitude in Ethiopia” program officially launched on Tuesday, 1 June, at the Skylight hotel, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

“Initiatives like this one aimed at reducing vulnerability to trafficking are extremely important to our people,” said Melese. “The Freedom Fund will continue to support frontline efforts to build community resilience against trafficking and work closely with the government of Ethiopia and other stakeholders in doing so.”


Freedom Fund /Ethiopia Country Office
Mayswi building 7th floor, Ethio-China Ave, Addis Ababa
+251 930 1094 23/[email protected]


The Freedom Fund is a leader in the global movement to end modern slavery. We identify and invest in the most effective frontline efforts to eradicate modern slavery in the countries and sectors where it is most prevalent. Partnering with visionary investors, governments, anti-slavery organizations and those at risk of exploitation, we tackle the systems that allow slavery to persist and thrive.

The TIP Office leads the Department’s global efforts to combat human trafficking through the prosecution of traffickers, the protection of victims, and the prevention of human trafficking by: objectively analyzing government efforts and identifying global trends; engaging in and supporting strategic bilateral and multilateral diplomacy; targeting foreign assistance to build sustainable capacity of governments and civil society; advancing the coordination of federal anti-trafficking policies across agencies; managing and leveraging operational resources to achieve strategic priorities; and engaging and partnering with civil society, the private sector, and the public to advance the fight against human trafficking. In 2017 the TIP Office launched the Program to End Modern Slavery (PEMS), a ground-breaking 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.


The press release and launch event are funded by a grant from the United States Department of State. The opinions, findings and conclusions stated herein are those of the Freedom Fund and do not necessarily reflect those of the United States Department of State.

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The Freedom Fund