- A new report from the nonprofit group Polaris highlights the top 25 U.S. industries in which human trafficking and modern slavery take place, and construction is included in the list.
- From December 2007 to December 2016, Polaris received reports of more than 42,000 cases of potential human trafficking or labor exploitation in the U.S., and almost 550 of those involved the construction industry, according to Builder.
- Polaris reported that construction labor exploitation and trafficking occurs most often in small businesses — both residential and commercial — and victims are sometimes misclassified as independent contractors so that employers can avoid paying benefits.
Trafficked and exploited works typically come from Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, but U.S. workers have also been subjected to modern slavery conditions by fake religious groups, rogue substance abuse recovery programs and other sham organizations taking advantage of the victim's vulnerabilities, including homelessness, according to the report.
Late year, LexisNexis, in its Business Insights Solutions report, said that slavery is not uncommon in the global construction industry. Company officials estimated the percentage of victims at 7% when taking into consideration construction and its associated industries like the material supply business. If this figure is accurate, it means that thousands of workers in the construction industry are considered modern slaves.
LexisNexis went on to say that one of the reasons these conditions flourish is because there is high industry demand for cheap labor and an unwillingness on the part of law enforcement and governments around the world to intervene.
One of the nations fighting slavery is the United Kingdom, which introduced the Modern Slavery Act 2015. The appointment of an Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner followed, and then came the European Union Non-Financial Reporting Directive, which required that member states make public their human rights policies and enact laws that conform to the conditions of the directive.