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Forced Labor

What is Forced Labor?

CBP defines forced labor as all work or service which is exacted from any person under the menace of any penalty for its nonperformance and for which the worker does not offer work or service voluntarily. Indentured labor is defined as work or service performed pursuant to a contract, the enforcement of which can be accomplished by process or penalties. This includes forced or indentured child labor.


CBP Forced Labor Enforcement Process


CBP Forced Labor Enforcement Process. 1) receipt of allegation or self-initiation 2) CBP Evaluation 3) Commissioner or Delegate Issues WRO or Finding 4) Issuance of WRO or Finding 5) Detention or Seizure of Merchandise


How does CBP address Forced Labor?

CBP implements Section 307 of the Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. §1307) through issuance of Withhold Release Orders (WRO) and findings to prevent merchandise produced in whole or in part in a foreign country using forced labor from being imported into the United States.

CBP is responsible for preventing the entry of products made with forced labor into the U.S. market by investigating and acting upon allegations of forced labor in supply chains.

The Human Trafficking Legal Center's June 2020 guide, Importing Freedom: Using the U.S. Tariff Act to Combat Forced Labor in Supply Chains, may be used to help the trade community strengthen petitions to CBP, and is one of several suggested tools to combat forced labor.


Withhold Release Orders and Findings List

Are your imported goods subject to a WRO or Finding?  Check the Withhold Release Orders and Findings List for information on any merchandise that may be subject to exclusion and/or seizure.  It is your obligation to be aware of your supply chain activities.


Enforcement Actions

Forced Labor Statistics as of September 30, 2021* (published quarterly)

Total Active

FY 2021 Statistics

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FindingsRepresentative Image for Findings


Findings Issued
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Withhold Release OrdersRepresentative Image for WROs


Withhold Release Orders Issued
   Representative image for Modifications


Withhold Release Orders & Findings Modified or Revoked
   Representative image for Detainments


Shipments Detained
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Penalties Issued
* The detention information provided above covers forced labor related detentions that occurred between October 1, 2020 and September 30, 2021.



What are the indicators of Forced Labor?

The indicators listed below were developed by the International Labour Organization. They are intended to help “front-line” criminal law enforcement officials, inspectors, trade union officers, NGO workers, and others to identify persons who are possibly trapped in a forced labor situation, and who may require urgent assistance. These indicators represent the most common signs that point to the possible existence of a forced labor case. 


ILO indicators of Forced Labor


ILO Indicators of Forced Labor: Restriction of movement, abuse of vulnerability, isolation, debt bondage, retention of identity docments, deception, physical and sexual violence, abusive working and living conditions, excessive overtime, intimidation and threats, withholding of wages

Images above obtained via Adobe Stock.


How You Can Help

Forced Labor and our Partners. Consumers Consumers can support CBP’s fight against forced labor by educating themselves through publicly available reports and information. Partner Government Agencies CBP relies on multiple Partner Government Agencies for the information and resources required to investigate. Domestic Importers and Businesses CBP encourages American retailers to have a thorough understanding of their supply chains, beyond their direct suppliers. Non-governmental Organizations CBP depends on non-governmental organizations around the world to provide critical information and details for forced labor allegations. Office of Trade. Follow us on Twitter. @CBPTradeGov

CBP encourages stakeholders in the trade community to closely examine their supply chains to ensure goods imported into the United States are not mined, produced or manufactured, wholly or in part, with prohibited forms of labor, i.e., slave, convict, indentured, forced or indentured child labor.

CBP regulations state that any person who has reason to believe that merchandise produced by forced labor is being, or is likely to be, imported into the United States may communicate his belief to any Port Director or the Commissioner of CBP (19 C.F.R. § 12.42).

If you wish to report allegations of forced labor violations, please submit them to CBP at the following address:  Allegations may be reported anonymously.  The more detailed and timely the information you provide, the more likely the enforcement action can be successful.


What to Include in your Forced Labor Allegation. Provide evidence showing: 1. Forced labor is taking place 2. A connection between the forced labor taking place and the U.S. market.  Details Well-crafted allegations will include details such as the name of the business or investors, and the location or type of work site (i.e. mine, plantation, factory, type of commodity being produced, information on production methods). Send your completed allegations to or via the e-allegations portal on Office of Trade. Follow us on Twitter. @CBPTradeGov



  • On July 13, 2021, the U.S. Department of State, alongside the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, and the U.S. Department of Labor issued an updated Xinjiang Supply Chain Business Advisory to highlight the heightened risks for businesses with supply chain and investment links to Xinjiang, given the entities complicit in forced labor and other human rights abuses there and throughout China. This updates the original Xinjiang Supply Chain Business Advisory issued by U.S. government agencies on July 1, 2020.
  • CBP and ICE, with the U.S. Department of State, and the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), issued the North Korea Sanctions and Enforcement Actions Advisory: Risks for Businesses with Supply Chain Links to North Korea on July 23, 2018.  The advisory informs the trade of North Korea's evasion tactics, compliance risks and requirements, as well as due diligence best practices.


  • CBP hosts trade outreach events via free webinars, including those on forced labor, to the international trade community on CBP trade policy, as established by the agency.
  • CBP Trade Week has been held virtually since 2020, and has featured panel discussions and presentations on trade topics, including forced labor.  The 2021 session discussed the evolution of forced labor enforcement with emphasis on current issues and future direction.