What is Forced Labor?
U.S. federal law 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
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.
Allegations of forced labor should be submitted via CBP's eAllegations website. Please reference the Allegation Submission Checklist and Recommended Guidelines for Supporting Documentation when submitting forced labor allegations. Visit the 'How to Submit Forced Labor Allegations' section below for more information.
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.
Forced Labor Statistics: Enforcement Actions
|Total Active||FY 2023 Statistics|
|Withhold Release Orders*||
|Withhold Release Orders Issued|
|Withhold Release Orders & Findings Modified or Revoked|
|Shipments Stopped for Forced Labor Enforcement Actions or Reviews**|
*11 active WROs were superseded by enforcement of the UFLPA rebuttable presumption. Additionally, six active WROs were superseded by enforcement of Findings.
**Timeframe for these entries stopped for forced labor enforcement actions or reviews is October 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023. This data element is updated on a quarterly basis.
The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act
The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA) establishes a rebuttable presumption that the importation of any goods, wares, articles, and merchandise mined, produced, or manufactured wholly or in part in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China, or produced by certain entities, is prohibited by Section 307 of the Tariff Act of 1930 and that such goods, wares, articles, and merchandise are not entitled to entry to the United States.
The UFLPA rebuttable presumption went into effect on June 21, 2022. Please visit our UFLPA webpage for all updates on implementation.
What are the indicators of Forced Labor?
The indicators listed below were developed by the International Labor 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
Images above obtained via Adobe Stock.
Report allegations of forced labor in a U.S.-bound supply chain via CBP’s eAllegations website. While allegations may be reported anonymously, those with a higher rate of successful acceptance for investigations typically provide follow-up contact information for the agency and provide specific and timely information about labor conditions and specific supply chain entities connected to the forced labor. Please reference the allegation submission checklist and recommended guidelines for supporting documentation linked below.
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 CFR 12.42).
If you are a member of the media, please visit the Office of Public Affairs at https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/press.
If you would like information about CBP's Forced Labor program, please contact https://help.cbp.gov.
- CBP Timelines and Investigative Benchmarks for Forced Labor Petitions
- How Does CBP Enforce 19 U.S.C. 1307?
- How are Modifications and Revocations Processed?
- What is in a Petition for a Modification or Revocation?
- What Can Importers Do to Help Combat Forced Labor?
- Due Diligence in Global Supply Chains
- 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.
- 09-18-2023. CBP modifies Withhold Release Order against Supermax Corporation Bhd. and its subsidiaries
- 04-26-2023. CBP Modifies Withhold Release Order in Response to Smart Glove’s Successful Actions to Address Forced Labor Supply Chain Issues
- 02-08-2023. CBP Modifies Withhold Release Order on YTY Industry Holdings Sdn Bhd (YTY Group) in Malaysia.
- 02-03-2023. CBP Modifies Forced Labor Finding on Sime Darby Plantation Berhad.
- 11-23-2022. CBP Issues Withhold Release Order on Central Romana Corporation Limited
- 09-07-2022. CBP Modifies Withhold Release Order on Natchi Apparel (P) Ltd.
- 01-28-2022. DHS Takes Action to Combat Forced Labor and Hold Companies Accountable for Exploiting Workers
- 12-20-2021. CBP issues Withhold Release Order on Brightway Group
- 11-04-2021. CBP Issues Withhold Release Order on Malaysian Glove Producers
- 10-21-2021. CBP Issues Withhold Release Order on Tomatoes Produced by Farm in Mexico
- 10-20-2021. CBP Issues Withhold Release Order on Supermax Corporation Bhd. and its Subsidiaries
- 09-10-2021. CBP Modifies Forced Labor Finding on Top Glove Corporation Bhd.
- 08-04-2021. CBP issues Withhold Release Order on Seafood Harvested with Forced Labor by the Hangton No. 112
- 07-23-2021. CBP Modifies Withhold Release Order on Imports of Carpets and Hand-Knotted Wool Products from Nepal
- 06-23-2021. The Department of Homeland Security Issues Withhold Release Order on Silica-Based Products Made by Forced Labor in Xinjiang
- 05-26-2021. CBP issues Withhold Release Order on Chinese fishing fleet
- 05-21-2021. CBP modifies Withhold Release Order on certain tobacco imports from Premium Tobacco Malawi Limited
- 03-29-2021. CBP Issues Forced Labor Finding on Top Glove Corporation Bhd.
- 01-13-2021. CBP Issues Region-Wide Withhold Release Order on Products Made by Slave Labor in Xinjiang
- 12-31-2020. CBP Issues Withhold Release Order on Seafood Harvested with Forced Labor by Lien Yi Hsing No. 12
- 12-30-2020. CBP Issues Withhold Release Order on Palm Oil Produced by Forced Labor in Malaysia
- 12-04-2020. CBP Modifies Withhold Release Order on Imports of Bone Black from Bonechar Carvão Ativado do Brasil Ltda
The Forced Labor Technical Expo: Tools for Supply Chain Transparency, was held from March 14-15, 2023 and involved members of the U.S. importing community, partner government agencies with a nexus to forced labor enforcement, and non-governmental organizations. The sessions included presentations from industry, due diligence initiatives, supply chain modernization, and more.