WASHINGTON — The Partnership for Public Service awarded U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s forced labor team the 2021 Service to America Medal (“Sammies”) for Safety, Security, and International Affairs. The Partnership for Public Service is a nonprofit nonpartisan organization whose annual Sammies awards ceremony is often referred to as the “Oscars” of government service and honors the achievements of our country’s outstanding public servants who inspire excellence and innovation throughout the federal workforce.
The Sammies are the premier awards program recognizing America's best in government. Renamed the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals in 2010 to commemorate the organization’s founder, the program has honored more than 500 outstanding federal employees since its inception in 2002. Back in August, CBP’s forced labor team was also awarded the 2021 Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals People’s Choice Award.
CBP’s Trade Remedy Law Enforcement Directorate, led by Executive Director Ana B. Hinojosa and Deputy Executive Director Eric Choy, received the prestigious award for their and the forced labor teams’ work, investigating goods suspected of being made with forced labor and preventing them from entering the United States.
“I want to offer my sincere congratulations to the CBP forced labor team on earning this prestigious award,” said Acting CBP Commissioner Troy Miller. “The forced labor team works to ensure that these goods never enter the U.S. commerce, and their efforts have led to tangible progress in the global fight against modern slavery. There is no place for goods produced with forced labor on American store shelves or in our homes.”
“Our forced labor team has made exceptional strides in their work to eliminate forced labor from U.S. supply chains, and I am thrilled that they are being recognized with this well-deserved award," said AnnMarie Highsmith, Executive Assistant Commissioner, Office of Trade. "Their outstanding work benefits people all over the world in helping to prevent egregious human rights violations, and also safeguards our economy here at home.”
In Fiscal Year 2021, CBP issued seven WROs, two forced labor findings, and detained 1,469 shipments that contained approximately $486 million of goods suspected to be made by forced labor. Since 2016, CBP has issued 32 Withhold Release Orders on goods including cotton products from China’s Xinjiang region, palm oil from Malaysia, and seafood from various fishing vessels.
Samuel J. Heyman founded the Partnership in 2001 to address the need for reform in government service. He believed that “the future of our nation quite simply depends on the quality of our government.” More information about the program and the 2021 finalists is available online here and here.
Visit CBP.gov or follow @CBP and @CBPTradeGov on Twitter for information and updates on CBP efforts to combat forced labor.