Construction is a $10 trillion global industry.
By 2025, it is expected to grow to $14 trillion. Construction laborers in many countries are unskilled or semiskilled migrant workers. With little bargaining power or local influence, migrant construction workers are particularly vulnerable to exploitative business practices.
Data on modern slavery in the construction industry has been scarce and sometimes inconclusive. While some estimates put global prevalence in the sector at nearly 3 million people, other estimates suggest there are 3 million victims in India’s construction sector alone.
We transform systems of exploitative labor in the construction industry.
By reducing worker vulnerabilities to exploitation, shifting demand for cheap labor, and transforming enabling environments that allow modern slavery to persist, GFEMS is working to eliminate modern slavery from the global construction sector.
To reduce the risk of modern slavery, GFEMS works directly with potential and prospective migrant workers and their families to raise awareness of the dangers of migrating with unethical actors. We facilitate access to government social security, entitlement programs, and job skilling programs as a means to provide alternatives for migrant families at risk of falling into predatory traps.
To reduce the demand for cheap labor, we build communities of ethical employers and provide training and financial incentives for them to improve their workforce and labor practices. We assist workers to assess and certify their skills and help position them for salary and conditions negotiation upon employment.
We pair these activities with coalition-building that brings together government, business, and civil society to ensure the welfare of migrant workers and transform the environment that allows modern slavery to persist in the construction sector.
Partner Spotlight: Jan Sahas Social Development Society
Project: Skilling and Safe Migration of Construction Workers in India
We partnered with Jan Sahas to make migration safer for migrant workers in India’s construction sector. Foundational to this program was building migrants’ financial security by raising awareness about entitlements and then guiding migrants through the registration process. While Jan Sahas registered over 52,000 migrants for government entitlement schemes, and helped 18,500 vulnerable workers and their families access direct cash or cash-equivalent benefits during the project period, follow-up worker interviews revealed that most would not have known about entitlements or how to access them without Jan Sahas’ intervention. Through the Migrant Resilience Collaborative, Jan Sahas is now doing entitlement registrations of 125,000 households per month.
Explore our other sectors
GFEMS also currently works across ethical recruitment, global finance, domestic work, apparel, and commercial sexual exploitation. Explore some of our other work: