About Mekong Club
Who we are
The Mekong Club is a non-profit organization that focuses on working with the private sector to address modern slavery and related crimes, such as human trafficking and forced labour. Our business association members include brands and companies from a range of industries, from financial services, to hospitality, retailing and manufacturing, amongst others. We cultivate a community of like-minded professionals, seeking to create sustainable approaches to ending modern slavery.
The Beginning of our Journey
Thirty years ago, Matt Friedman, CEO and founder of The Mekong Club, worked as a senior USAID public health official across Asia, focused on education and prevention of HIV/AIDS in small rural communities.
As part of Matt’s work, he visited many shelters where he repeatedly heard the same themes of horror. His first interview was with a fifteen-year-old girl telling him she was sexually abused over seven thousand times. She did this for two years until she was forced to leave because she suffered from various diseases that turned customers away.
Matt soon realised that, just as this young girl had been exploited for sex, millions more were being exploited across the world. This exploitation was happening in the sex industry but also permeates global supply chains, from factories to farms to fishing boats.
Matt began to work in the United Nations in the anti-trafficking world, where he worked closely with the public and private sectors across Asia. During his tenure, he noticed a gap in engagement with the private sector in their anti-trafficking efforts. Not because they didn’t want to, but because they feared being named or shamed for approaching a UN official to ask for help.
As a result, Matt left the United Nations and started The Mekong Club in Asia’s financial centre, Hong Kong, to provide a safe space for companies worldwide to work together to help identify and eliminate forced labour in the private sector.
Our Just Cause
We imagine a slave-free world whereby businesses collectively redefine how to approach social sustainability. Whereby working professionals wake up every morning feeling inspired and fulfilled by their work, knowing that the children, men, and women who have fallen victim to the actions of criminals, can return home safely to their families.
We believe the best way to build this world is to commit to making it together.
- Collaboration for betterment
Tackling the issue at hand with businesses serious about making a difference.
- Innovate to regenerate
Continuously share ideas and encourage others to do the same. We share in each other’s successes and failures to better the world around us.
- Equip for action
Engage in a proactive pursuit to empower and inspire with the resources to act and make a difference.
- Adopt an unconventional approach
Embrace new ways of doing that leave long-lasting impacts on the future, not just short-term fixes.
What We Do
Matt Friedman started The Mekong Club to share his work and knowledge in the anti-trafficking world with as many professionals as possible. Today, The Mekong Club is a place for any size company, industry or working professional to learn and encompass new ideas to advance our Just Cause around the world.
Here’s how we do it:
- Policy Reviews
- Baseline Assessment
- Community Engagement
- Awareness Raising
- Online Tools & Resources
Discover the Mekong Club
Tools & Resources
Latest News & Events
Mekong Club Members
Our Members span across multiple countries and industries, making up a diverse community of professionals with a wealth of perspectives and experience in the anti-slavery space. We foster a community that encourages collaboration, best practice sharing, and cross-industry responses to modern slavery issues.
Ng Te Hooi (TeA)
Partnership and collaboration is crucial when addressing the topic of modern slavery. We are fortunate to partner with talented and passionate people and innovative organizations, across many initiatives, from supply chain transparency to financial red flags. We are open to new collaborations, please contact us to set up a meeting.