Latham & Watkins and the Royal Bank of Scotland collaborated with Equality Now to research and analyze legislation implemented to combat the demand for prostitution and the associated issue of human trafficking, specifically sex trafficking, in multiple jurisdictions across the MENA region. The project involved an analysis of applicable legislation in Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Egypt, Israel, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Bahrain, Jordan, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates with a view to identifying gaps in the applicable legislative framework.

Thomson Reuters Foundation recognized the ground-breaking pro bono project in its 2012 Awards, presenting the firm, together with Equality Now and the Royal Bank of Scotland, with the TrustLaw Impact Award for the team’s work “to reform local legislation on sex trafficking of women and girls in sub-Saharan Africa and Middle East/North Africa.” The TrustLaw Awards recognize “the best pro bono projects undertaken jointly by lawyers with NGOs or social entrepreneurs.”

Click here to watch a video produced by the Thomson Reuters Foundation showcasing the project with commentary from Monique Villa, CEO of the Thomson Reuters Foundation, and Yasmeen Hassan, Global Director at Equality Now.

The Latham & Watkins cross-office team included attorneys from the firm’s Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Doha and London offices. Dubai partner Anthony Pallett, who led the Latham team, said: “We are delighted to have contributed to this important project, working alongside the committed and talented lawyers at Equality Now and the Royal Bank of Scotland. Our research is designed to benchmark the legislative framework in the target countries against international standards, identify gaps in the relevant laws, and highlight reform priorities. We are immensely proud to have been part of this landmark research initiative and honored to receive this award.”

Photo: Thomson Reuters Foundation