Customs Cracks Down on Imports Made by Forced Labor

Kristi Ellis

The U.S. Department of Labor releases an annual list of products made by forced or child labor, as well as another watch list on child labor, in which a number of major apparel-producing countries, including Bangladesh, China and Vietnam, have been cited for the practice in industries including apparel, textile and footwear manufacturing, and cotton production and gem and metal mining.

Judy Gearhart, executive director of the International Labor Rights Forum, said the group was pleased “to know that this is coming into effect and that Customs will take action when products are under suspicion of being made by forced labor.”

“They have to be stopped at our ports,” Gearhart said. “With globalization the way it is, the more technology we have and transparency in the global supply chain [and now Customs enforcement], the more we will find out what kind of products are coming through our ports and stop them before we aid and abet forced labor by buying those goods.”