2022 North American Speaking Tour: Canada and the USA
2022 North American Speaking Tour: Canada and the USA
  • 10th Sep, 2022
  • Canada

Modern Slavery and the Private Sector 


The issue of modern slavery in North America is a very sensitive topic within the private sector. Many companies don’t want to believe that modern slavery could be a part of their supply chains. Others recognize the problem, but don’t know how to get started solving it. Still others are unsure of the quality of their anti-slavery systems relative to their peers and don’t know how to improve their policies and procedures. But with a range of new legislation related to modern slavery globally and within North America, increasing numbers of lawsuits against corporations, and wider media attention, ignoring this issue is not an option. 

The reality is that modern slavery—such as forced labor and debt bondage—is part of every economy. Most North American businesses would be horrified to learn that their products were made by slaves someplace in the world. That their construction and mining sites could be using slave labor. That traffickers could be laundering money through their bank. 


Proposed Road Trip Across Canada and the USA


To make sense of this important topic and its relevance to the private sector in North America, Matt Friedman and his wife, Sylvia Yu Friedman, will carry out a second road trip across Canada and the USA to reach out to businesses, universities, faith-based groups, NGOs, Rotary Clubs, and the general public. The Friedmans will travel to the following cities over a 45-day period, including: 


  • Vancouver (Sept. 10-17)
  • Toronto (Sept, 18-24)
  • Ottawa (September 25-30)
  • Atlanta (Oct. 2-7)
  • Chattanooga (Oct 8-12) 
  • Raleigh (Oct 13-17)
  • Washington, D.C (Oct 18-21)
  • Pittsburgh (Oct 22-25)


They plan to offer 80 presentations to over 3,000 participants. The topics covered in each presentation will include the following: 


  • The changing modern slavery paradigm in all its forms;
  • The relationship between human trafficking and modern slavery;
  • The impact of COVID on modern slavery globally;
  • A comprehensive summary of global trends and patterns;
  • An update on recent and emerging legislation;
  • A detailed description of the relationship between forms of modern slavery and business risk;
  • A detailed analysis of the relevance of this issue to the private sector; 
  • An update on the relevance of ESG to modern slavery; and 
  • A description of tangible, practical tools and approaches used throughout the world to help businesses identify and address this potential problem. 


Expected Outcomes


  • Increased awareness of the issue within the private sector;
  • New Partnerships (corporate, NGO, faith-based, etc);
  • Expanded private sector involvement (increased interest in addressing the problem); and
  • Reduced human trafficking.


About Matt and Sylvia Friedman 

  • Matt Friedman is an award-winning international human trafficking expert with more than 35 years’ experience. He is CEO of The Mekong Club, an organization of Hong Kong’s leading businesses which have joined forces to help end all forms of modern slavery. Mr. Friedman previously worked for USAID and the United Nations in over 40 countries. Mr. Friedman offers technical advice to numerous governments, banks and corporations working to eliminate all forms of modern slavery and is the author of twelve books. His recent Penguin/Random House book entitled, “Where Were You: A Profile of Modern Slavery,” is being used as a human trafficking textbook. In 2017, Mr. Friedman won Asia’s prestigious “Communicator of the Year” Gold Award. 


  • Sylvia Yu Friedman is a Canadian award-winning filmmaker & investigative journalist, international speaker, and serial entrepreneur. She is the author of three books, A Long Road to Justice: Stories from the Frontlines in Asia (Penguin Random House, September 2021); Silenced No More: Voices of Comfort Women, the only journalistic account of historical Japanese military sex slavery during WWII, and Heart and Soul: The Life Story of Pastor Augustus Chao. She is a former Canadian and Hong Kong TV anchor, and advisor to philanthropists. Since 2005, Sylvia has managed and directed millions of dollars to major humanitarian portfolios impacting at least more than one million people. She is producing a movie based on her latest book, A Long Road to Justice. 

For details, please contact Matt Friedman: [email protected]