14 July 2011: The Mekong Club today announces its official formation as the world’s first business-led not-for-profit organisation fighting the business of slavery across the Mekong countries in Asia. The group is based in Hong Kong and comprises senior business leaders from a range of industries and sectors.
Together with anti-slavery partners, the Mekong Club will fight human slavery ‘business to business’ by disrupting the slavery trade at pivotal points and obstructing its profitability. Innovative technology and applications will be used for the first time to directly address this issue and help build community pressure for change.
The Hong Kong organisation’s projects will be deployed across the Mekong region covering China, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Myanmar, where an estimated 9 million human slaves are found in places such as factories, construction sites, fisheries and sex venues.
“Human slavery is a horrific reality across many industries and extremely prevalent in Asia. It is a real life issue that millions of people face every day. The Mekong Club is harnessing the skills and resources of the business community and channelling them into projects that will deliver real change and make slavery unacceptable business practice. We welcome any businesses that choose to join us,” said Chairman David Hall-Jones.
The announcement of the Mekong Club’s formation follows the recent release of the annual Trafficking in Persons Report 2011 by the US State Department – finding fault with 23 countries for ‘not doing enough’ to fight modern slavery, near doubling last year’s figure of 13 countries.
The newly formed Mekong Club includes business professionals from the finance, IT, media and PR, legal, accounting, logistics, hotel, and retail sectors and includes a veteran of the anti-slavery movement, Matt Friedman.
Read more about the Mekong Club and its projects at www.themekongclub.org.
Notes to editors: Human slavery today
The business of slavery is valued at an estimated US$32 billion globally (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime), profiting from an estimated 26 million people suffering in slavery today. The slavery trade is an industry that benefits from the abuse and coercion of people forced into physical and/or sexual labour. Every day, men, women and children are trafficked into human slavery, exploited by others for economic gain against their will, deprived of all human rights and subjected to unimaginable mental and physical abuse, torture or rape.
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Issued by Edelman Public Relations