Steering Group

Urmila Bhoola, Former United Nations Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, including its causes and consequences

Urmila Bhoola is a South African lawyer working globally to advance human rights and end child labour, child marriage, forced labour and other contemporary forms of slavery. She served as the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Slavery, its causes and consequences from 2014 – 2020. Ms. Bhoola is the National Director of Lawyers for Human Rights in South Africa and a former Judge of the Labour Court of South Africa. Her judicial appointment followed twenty years of work as a labour and human rights lawyer in South Africa, and she has received many awards for her human rights and gender equality work. She has also been a technical advisor to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) on labour rights in the Asia Pacific region and was Chief Legal Drafter of South Africa’s Employment Equity Act, designed to redress disadvantages caused by apartheid. She has also served as a part time Member of the Competition Tribunal appointed to regulate compliance with South Africa’s Competition Act, and was a visiting Senior Lecturer at the Law School of the University of the Witwatersrand. She is former Executive Director of International Women’s Rights Action Watch (Asia Pacific), a women’s rights advocacy organisation which monitors compliance with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), based in Malaysia.

 

 


Charita L. Castro, PhD, Director for Labor Affairs, U.S. Government employee*

Dr Castro has 20 years of federal government experience in senior policy, research, and management positions working collaboratively to deliver concrete results that improve the lives of vulnerable communities, especially those in or at-risk of child labor, forced labor, and human trafficking. She began her federal career as a Presidential Management Fellow, and has served at the U.S. Census Bureau, Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Labor. From 2011 – 2018, she was the inaugural Chief of Research and Policy for the Office of Child Labor, Forced Labor and Human Trafficking, managing a 25-person staff of civil servants; overseeing a $80 million portfolio of international projects; and supervising the publication of the Department’s three Congressionally-mandated and Presidential Directive reports on child labor and forced labor, including the U.S. government’s Sweat & Toil app, the first-ever human rights focused mobile application for the federal government. Dr. Castro is currently a Director of Labor Affairs at the United States Trade Representative where she oversees the its global forced labor portfolio and East Asia. She received her doctoral degree in public policy from the George Washington University; master in social work from Washington University in St. Louis; and bachelor of science in psychology from Tulane University.  From 2004 – 2005, she was a Fulbright fellow to the Philippines researching the impact of hazardous work on child laborers in agriculture, and she is currently servicing as one of 125 IF/THEN Women in STEM Ambassadors to promote the next generation of female scientists

*Disclaimer: Any thoughts or opinions expressed are those of the steering group member, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts and opinions of the agency.

 

 

 


Professor Zoe Trodd, Director of the Rights Lab at the University of Nottingham

Professor Zoe Trodd is Director of the Rights Lab at the University of Nottingham (UK). Home to a large team of researchers from all disciplines, the Rights Lab focuses on delivering research to help end modern slavery. She has researched and worked in the field of modern slavery for 15 years, and focuses in her own research on survivor-informed strategies for understanding and tackling slavery, as well as on movement strategies within a long history of anti-slavery efforts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Nick Grono, CEO of the Freedom Fund

Nick is the inaugural CEO of the Freedom Fund. The Fund was founded in 2014, and is an ambitious effort to mobilise the knowledge, capital and will needed to end modern slavery. It is currently working with 100 frontline partner organisations around the world, and has liberated over 27,000 people directly from slavery Nick is also a board member of Girls Not Brides. Previously, Nick was the CEO of the Walk Free Foundation, a key international actor in the fight against modern slavery, and before that he was the Deputy President and COO of the International Crisis Group, the world’s leading conflict prevention NGO. Nick is a lawyer by background and worked as Chief of Staff to the Australian Attorney-General from 1999-2001.

 

 

 

 

 


Bukeni Waruzi, Free the Slaves Executive Director 

Bukeni Waruzi, has led organizations, programs and projects in Africa, Europe, North America and around the world. He has decades of expertise on human rights, global justice, and technology. He has led research on children and women, and armed conflict in Africa and the Middle East, Women living in servitude in the Middle East, the use of mobile technology to advance global justice and human rights, etc.His advocacy and evidence were instrumental in the International Criminal Court’s first case on war crimes against children of the Democratic Republic of Congo, his native country. He has made presentations at high level audiences including the United Nations Security Council, the United States Congress, the Assembly of States Parties of the ICC, etc. Mr. Bukeni has a master’s degree in Human Rights and Conflict Resolution from the University of Burundi and a BA in Economics from the Evangelical University in Africa (Bukavu, DRC). He speaks several languages including French and Swahili and has produced several human rights films on children and women in armed conflict.