News Analysis

Forced Labor and the Building Material Supply Chain

Forced labor is used to create many building products, but changes are underway that are helping to address this serious issue.

Forced labor, or modern slavery, is widely spread across the globe. People—including children—in forced-labor conditions work without pay or for recruitment fees, leaving them in debt bondage. Workers are threatened with relocation, deportation, and worse.

Nearly 25 million people are trapped in forced labor, according to the International Labor Organization. The list of goods traced to forced labor includes coffee, textiles, and other consumer products and materials we use every day, but it also includes construction materials, such as bricks, timber, steel, and even photovoltaic panels.

Originally published August 8, 2022 Reviewed August 15, 2022

Ehrlich, B. (2022, August 15). Forced Labor and the Building Material Supply Chain. Retrieved from