Our Approach

Ending modern slavery requires bold approaches, investments, collaboration, and resources at an unprecedented scale. It’s possible, and we are making it happen.

Our Approach

We tackle the issue at its core 

One thing we know for sure is that there is no “one size fits all” approach to ending modern slavery. Different social, environmental, cultural, and economic factors in different places lead to situations of exploitation. We take the time to understand these underlying factors and create tailored theories of change for each sector and geography we work in. 

We make targeted investments that address systemic problems

Based on these evidence-informed theories, we work with local partners to develop and deploy actionable solutions, targeting our investments directly at the systems that drive modern slavery around the world. We tackle: 

  • The core drivers of vulnerability and exploitation
  • The social, economic, and market conditions that allow exploitation to persist– or worse, incentivize it
  • The lack of knowledge, skills, or capacity needed to mitigate risk, prosecute traffickers, or empower the vulnerable
Our approach in action

Here’s what our approach looks like in action in the ethical recruitment sector.

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We build solutions that reform exploitative systems

Within each sector and geography, we work to build solutions that:

  • Reduce vulnerabilities to modern slavery and trafficking
  • Shift the demand away from exploitative labor practices
  • Make improvements in the enabling environments that allow slavery to persist 

This approach ensures we are engaging with all necessary stakeholders, including in government and the private sector, and that our solutions have a higher potential to be scaled and replicated.

Reducing Vulnerability


Modern slavery most frequently affects the most vulnerable- those who are searching for work or a way out of desperate circumstances. They are forced, deceived, or coerced into exploitative working conditions, often because they do not know of or have access to any viable alternatives. By building financial and social security among at-risk populations and raising awareness of trafficking risks, vulnerability to exploitation is decreased. Such interventions might include:

  • Providing trauma-informed care and reintegration for survivors to prevent re-trafficking
  • Promoting awareness of rights, trafficker tactics, and alternatives to at-risk communities
  • Building individual capacities and ability to find viable employment through market-driven skilling and employment programs

Shifting Demand


The demand side of slavery is driven by the desire for cheap labor, cheap goods, and sexual exploitation. To create sustainable change in the private sector, a demand for ethical practices must be created, concrete solutions must be identified, and ethical business models need to be implemented. Demand-side interventions include:

  • Developing new tools to detect and mitigate forced labor risks in deep and opaque supply chains
  • Building and incentivizing uptake of ethical contracting and ethical production models
  • Testing demand reduction approaches for sex trafficking

Reforming Environment


The enabling environment for slavery is represented by inadequate justice systems and corruption that allow perpetrators to act with impunity, and corporate and cultural norms that ignore harm done to the most vulnerable. Interventions to address this environment include:

  • Building the capacity of criminal justice and regulatory systems to identify, protect and secure justice for victims, and punish traffickers
  • Investing in new technologies and tools to detect and disrupt trafficker operations
  • Securing corporate and community buy-in by illuminating the ultimate costs of modern slavery to economies and societies and the gains from eliminating it

Ending modern slavery is possible in our lifetime

Modern slavery is a complex global issue, but progress is possible. Modern slavery is closely tied to other issues in sustainable development, including women and girls’ empowerment, education, and poverty reduction. If we have not had the opportunity to meet you yet, reach out to see how we can work together.

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Private sector leadership is critical to ending modern slavery

Today, 16 million people currently in conditions of modern slavery are employed in the private sector. They work in construction, agriculture, manufacturing and apparel, domestic work and many more industries.

Modern slavery is bad for business

Modern slavery-based pricing makes slave-free products less competitive, can affect brand perception internationally, and negatively impacts the efficiency and effectiveness of operations. It is a known investment risk for businesses, and yet there is relatively minimal private sector action to date. This is partially due to a lack of adequate tools for businesses to see deep into their supply chains, where modern slavery is most likely to exist. 

To end modern slavery sustainably, GFEMS works with private sector leaders on improving their business practices and developing the tools that will help them identify modern slavery risks and expand the possibilities for progress.

Where We Work