Our Programs

We initially invested in regions and industries with high potential for impact.

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First geographies

Our inaugural portfolio of programs focused on Asia and East Africa, geographies where interventions had high potential for impact. Across our programs, we worked side-by-side with government, the private sector, and civil society partners.

Our inaugural geographies included: India, Bangladesh, Vietnam, the Philippines, Kenya, Uganda, Brazil, and Malaysia with complementary activities in other geographies.

Sectors we focused on

cleaning kit

With an estimated 3.8 million victims worldwide, domestic work accounts for the largest share of estimated victims of private-sector forced labor. Even compared to other vulnerable populations, domestic workers are particularly vulnerable. Women and girls account for a large percentage of domestic workers and frequently face additional vulnerabilities related to gender.

Sewing Machine

Apparel, a subset of manufacturing with 75 million workers worldwide, is a large source of forced labor. It is a key engine of economic growth in many developing countries. Hundreds of thousands of these workers are victims of modern slavery. 


Like apparel, construction is a major growth engine in developing countries. Globally, it is a $10 trillion industry. There is mounting pressure to improve worker welfare and labor practices. However, the lack of ground-tested, academically validated, pragmatic solutions limits the adoption of good practices at scale.

An estimated 5 million people globally, including approximately 1 million children, are victims of commercial sexual exploitation. While organizations around the world conduct frequent rescues and provide reintegration services to survivors, operations are unable to reach sufficient scale to sustainably reduce these numbers.  

In today’s global economy, goods and services are consumed far from where they are produced. Global brands procure their products tens of thousands of suppliers, making it difficult to trace a path from raw material to finished product. The overwhelming complexity of global supply chains puts millions of people, including children, at risk of forced labor and exploitation.

global finance

The financial sector—from banks to investment funds to financial service providers—is a pillar of the global economy and a platform for all financial movement, including illicit finance tied to trafficking and slavery. Global finance is therefore a powerful lever for building more transparent supply chains and mobilizing private sector actors against trafficking and slavery.

migrant workers

One in four victims of forced labor is a migrant. Although overseas labor migration is critical for the global economy, it is associated with high debts and risk of exploitation. While better onsite treatment of workers by employers is an important part of interventions, it is not enough to prevent modern slavery. Interventions need to reach from communities of origin to destination workplaces and back.

Domestic Work |


What we learned in our first programs in Vietnam

Between 2018-2020, GFEMS funded research and advocacy efforts focused on labor migration from Vietnam.

Partner: IOM, ILO, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Responsible Business Alliance

  • The findings showed that 13.65% of the sample experienced indicators synonymous with labor trafficking.
  • A majority of workers who borrowed money estimated that it would take between seven and 24 months to pay off the debt.
  • Those who borrowed money to finance their trip overseas were 2.56 times as likely to have experienced forced labor as those who did not.

Learn More

Meet our Grant Programs Team

Grant Programs

Adam Needelman

Senior Program Manager

Meet Adam

Fernanda Carvalho

Country Director, Brazil

Meet Fernanda

Grace West

Senior Program Manager

Meet Grace

Tasneem Nahar

Director of Programs

Meet Tasneem