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Weissbrodt Chairs U.N. Group on Contemporary Slavery

SEPTEMBER 28, 2009—Professor David Weissbrodt was recently re-elected Chair of the Board of Trustees of the U.N. Voluntary Trust Fund on Contemporary Forms of Slavery at the Board’s 14th annual session in Geneva.

The five members of the Board of Trustees are selected for their relevant experience in human rights and contemporary forms of slavery. Equitable geographical distribution and gender balance of the Board are also considered. Members are appointed for three-year, once-renewable terms.

Completing the current Board of Trustees are Ms. Prateep Ungsongtham Hata (Thailand), Ms. Virginia Murillo Herrera (Costa Rica), Mr. Cléophas Kwadjo Essediaba Mally (Togo), and Ms. Klara Skrivankova (Czech Republic).

The Trust Fund operates through the office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Navi Pillay (South Africa). Its Board members are appointed by the U.N. Secretary-General, with input from the chair of the Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights.

Established in 1991, the Trust Fund’s mission is to bring world attention to contemporary forms of slavery and its elimination and to assist victims directly through the projects it supports. The Board of Trustees is charged with employing members’ experience and expertise to advise knowledgeably the Secretary-General on use of the Trust Fund.

The Trust Fund awards project grants to humanitarian and legal- and financial-aid organizations as well as travel grants to bring victims and organizations to meet with the contemporary slavery working group. It has funded such projects as liberation from marital slavery through financial empowerment in Cameroon, rehabilitation of women and children rescued from trafficking in Nigeria, and advocating for eradication of slave labor in Brazil.

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