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Forced Labor

Section 307 of the Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. § 1307) prohibits the importation of merchandise mined, produced or manufactured, wholly or in part, in any foreign country by forced or indentured child labor – including forced child labor. Such merchandise is subject to exclusion and/or seizure, and may lead to criminal investigation of the importer(s).

When information reasonably but not conclusively indicates that merchandise within the purview of this provision is being imported, the Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) may issue withhold release orders pursuant to 19 C.F.R. § 12.42(e). If the Commissioner is provided with information sufficient to make a determination that the goods in question are subject to the provisions of 19 U.S.C. § 1307, the Commissioner will publish a formal finding to that effect in the Customs Bulletin and in the Federal Register pursuant to 19 C.F.R. § 12.42(f).

How You Can Help

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: https://eallegations.cbp.gov/Home/Index2

Key Points

  • The Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 was signed by the President on February 24, 2016. The law repealed the “consumptive demand” clause in 19 U.S.C. § 1307. The clause had allowed importation of certain forced labor-produced goods if the goods were not produced “in such quantities in the United States as to meet the consumptive demands of the United States.” Repeal of the consumptive demand exception should enhance CBP’s ability to prevent products made with forced labor from being imported into the United States.
  • CBP acts on information concerning specific manufacturers/exporters and specific merchandise. The agency does not generally target entire product lines or industries in problematic countries or regions.
  • CBP partners with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and other participating U.S. government agencies to investigate forced labor allegations.
  • 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.

Other References:

Withhold release orders issued by the Commissioner and findings published in the Federal Register; CBP does not generally publicize specific detentions, re-exportations, exclusions, or seizures of the subject merchandise that may have resulted from the withhold release orders or findings.

Detention Orders (Withhold Release Orders)

In the News


Advisories

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.

Last modified: 
August 21, 2018