Complaint Urges Customs to Halt Cotton Imports from Turkmenistan

Kristi Ellis

The International Labor Rights Forum and a nongovernmental organization filed a formal complaint Wednesday with U.S. Customs and Border Protection to halt the importation of cotton product from Turkmenistan, alleging all cotton goods harvested and manufactured in the country are made with forced labor.

The ILRF and the NGO, Alternative Turkmenistan News, both partners in the Cotton Campaign, a coalition of human rights organizations, trade unions, business association and investors dedicated to ending child and forced labor in cotton production, called on Customs to classify cotton goods from Turkmenistan as illicit, issue a detention order on all cotton imports from the country and direct port managers to block their release into the U.S.

The complaint also requested Customs halt the importation into the U.S. of cotton duvet covers and pillowcases and shams from Ikea under the group’s “Nyponros” and “Malou” lines.