As the fight against forced labor continues, it is important to know what forced labor is in order to recognize and report it. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection defines forced labor as, “all work or services which is exacted from any person under the menace of penalty for its nonperformance and for which the worker does not offer work or service voluntarily.” Essentially, forced labor is when a person performs work or a service involuntarily due to a threat of a penalty. Indentured labor is a type of forced labor which the CBP defines as, “work or service performed pursuant to a contract, the enforcement of which can be accomplished by process or penalties.” This means that a person is forced into work or service due to a contract.
Some indicators or common signs of forced labor are:
In order to combat forced labor, the CBP has implemented Section 307 of the Tariff Act of 1930. This allows them to issue a Withhold Release Order (WRO) or finding on any merchandise that is being imported into the United States after being produced in a foreign country that uses forced labor. You can click HERE to check if your merchandise is subject to a WRO or finding.
You can learn more about forced labor and stay up to date on statistics regarding the WROs and Findings issued, by visiting the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s website at https://www.cbp.gov/trade/programs-administration/forced-labor.
Please contact your Western Overseas representative if you have any questions.