A “strong risk” of modern slavery exists in the global construction industry and inadequate safeguards are worsening the situation, according to an analysis.
The research by LexisNexis Business Insight Solutions said an estimated 7% of the global workforce works in construction and more than 45m people across the world are trapped in slavery.
The analysis, which involved examining more than 6,000 news sources in more than 100 countries, revealed that forced labour and other exploitation are common and often concealed in the industry and its supply chains. Inadequate prevention, policing and prosecution made the situation worse, the report found.
It said governments, businesses and the media all have a role to play in combating modern slavery.
Prime minister Theresa May pledged in July to spend £33m on global initiatives to tackle modern slavery, which she described as “the great human rights issue of our time”.
Kevin Hyland, UK independent anti-slavery commissioner, said: “I am pleased to see numerous sectors waking up to the crime of modern slavery, and the LexisNexis report excellently educates those in the construction industry on this evil crime.”
The report warned that companies may unknowingly support forced labour in their procurement of materials due to a lack of transparency in the supply chain.