We work to protect the rights of domestic workers and transform the systems that perpetuate their exploitation. 

Domestic Work


The domestic work sector accounts for the largest share of private sector forced labor, with an estimated 3.8 million victims worldwide.

Domestic workers are often migrants with few skills and little formal education, even relative to other low-skill, highly vulnerable populations. Most are women and girls, which further exacerbates their vulnerability to forced labor, exploitation and abuse, and trafficking. Compared to its estimated rate of prevalence, few investments to-date have been made in protecting domestic workers. 

GFEMS works to protect the rights of domestic workers and to transform the systems that perpetuate their exploitation.

We protected the rights of domestic workers.

Our programs focus on domestic workers who travel overseas for employment. We prioritize developing solutions in countries that are major countries of origin for domestic workers, like the Philippines and Bangladesh, and the most common destination countries, like Hong Kong or Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, where domestic workers migrate for employment opportunities. 

Our systemic approach targeted a sustainable end to the exploitation of domestic workers

Trafficking and enslavement of domestic workers is perpetuated by systems of supply, demand, and an enabling environment that does not protect workers or survivors. To bring sustainable change, we need solutions that: reduce worker vulnerability, shift demand away from exploitative labor, and ensure that proper regulations and mechanisms exist to end impunity for traffickers.

GFEMS and its partners worked on all three fronts. They worked with communities to address root economic vulnerabilities, raise awareness, and ensure domestic workers and their families are properly prepared. For victims and survivors, we built sustainable, safe, and survivor-informed reintegration approaches and services. We created and supported ethical recruitment agencies across the world that place domestic workers, change the behaviors of employers, and equip all stakeholders with tools that make ethical recruitment of domestic workers more effective. We ended impunity for traffickers and strengthen justice for survivors through legislative change and supporting the enforcement of anti-trafficking and labor laws. We helped governments create and implement tools and mechanisms that protect survivors and prosecute traffickers.

Domestic Work |


Partner Spotlight: Blas F. Ople Policy Center and Training Institute

Project: Anti-Slavery Program for Overseas Filipino Workers

Lured by the promise of better wages, Jade found herself locked in a Bahrain apartment with another Filipina trafficked from Dubai. Both were forced into sexual slavery. Upon escape, they were introduced to the Ople Center, which worked with them to seek justice. In a landmark case, eight traffickers were convicted by a Bahraini court and imprisoned, and the Bahraini government awarded each survivor $3,000 USD in restitution. Without the Ople Center, Jade explains, she and her fellow survivor “might not have received the justice we deserved…they didn’t leave my side in my fight for justice.” Jade also undertook skills training with the Ople Center, reducing her vulnerability to retrafficking. She now earns money selling siomai dumplings and is able to support her family.

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Working with local partners, leaders with lived experience, and others invested in human dignity, GFEMS is building the momentum needed for sustainable change.