A new report by the Chartered Institute of Building is urging greater action to be taken to combat unfair labor practices in the industry. The report entitled “Building a Fairer System: Tackling Modern Slavery in Construction Supply Chains,” says that top organizers and employers need to take more responsibility for their actions in the supply train and fair labor practices. The report was released in consultation with a number of businesses and NGOS such as Amnesty International, Engineers Against Poverty, and the Institute for Human Rights and Business.

The International Labor Organization estimates that there are 21 million people worldwide that are in forced labor, generating estimated profits of $150 billion.

As Scottish Construction Now reports:

"With its fragmented supply chains, opaque procurement processes and high demand for migrant labor, the report says the construction sector faces a unique set of challenges in tackling human rights abuses.

Building a fairer system examines how workers from developing countries become tricked or coerced into paying illegal and extortionate recruitment fees, and, once in debt, become vulnerable to exploitation in their place of work. Abuses range from forced or bonded labor, late payment, unsanitary living conditions, unfair deductions from wages, withheld passports and loss of freedom of movement, lack of representation, violence, intimidation and physical abuse.”

The report outlines concrete steps that can be taken within the construction supply chain to combat sexual slavery:

  1. Map out supply chains and identify areas of highest risk, geographically and by activity. Tackle these areas first
  2. Lead policy from the top of an organization, at CEO and COO level
  3. Provide tailored training and education to staff at all levels of the business.
  4. Work directly with labor supply agents and/or increase the proportion of directly employed labor on a project
  5. Take more responsibility for shifting the culture in lower tiers of the supply chain: provide support and training for SMEs
  6. Collaborate with NGOs that can provide support and understanding of the complex challenges of different regions
  7. Set long term strategy by following international guidance produced by organizations such as the UN Global Compact, the Ethical Trading Initiative, the Institute for Human Rights and Business, OECD or the International Labor Organization

To read more about the report and what you can do to fight modern day slavery, click below.

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