Enforcing the prohibition on imports of goods made with forced and child labor continues to be a high priority for U.S. government agencies. Toward that end, the Department of Labor’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs is requesting comments and information no later than Dec. 16 to be used in the preparation of certain lists and reports regarding forced and child labor in foreign countries.
The Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2013 requires ILAB to submit to Congress every two years a list of foreign-made goods that it has reason to believe are produced by forced and/or child labor in violation of international standards. ILAB is also required to take steps to ensure that the goods on this list are not imported into the U.S. if they are made with forced or child labor, including working with producers to help set standards to eliminate the use of such labor. The most recent TVPRA list comprises 158 goods from 77 countries and the next one will be published in 2024.
Executive Order 13126 prohibits federal agencies from acquiring goods produced by forced or indentured child labor, and the DOL maintains a list of products that it has a reasonable basis to believe might have been mined, produced, or manufactured with such labor. Federal contractors who supply the products on this list must certify that they have made a good faith effort to determine whether forced or indentured child labor was used to mine, produce, or manufacture them and that, on the basis of those efforts, they are unaware of any such use. The EO 13126 list, which comprises 34 products from 26 countries, is available here.
Under the Trade and Development Act of 2000, one of the criteria for eligibility for trade benefits under the Generalized System of Preferences, the Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act, and the African Growth and Opportunity Act is the beneficiary country’s implementation of its international commitments to eliminate the worst forms of child labor. The DOL evaluates this factor in an annual report, the most recent of which is available here.
ILAB is requesting comments and information relevant to updating the findings and suggested government actions for countries reviewed in the TDA report, assessing each country's advancement toward eliminating the worst forms of child labor, and maintaining and updating the TVPRA and EO lists. ILAB will generally consider sources with dates up to five years old (i.e., data not older than Jan. 1, 2017).
ILAB is also requesting information on (1) the current practices of firms, business associations, and other private-sector groups to reduce the likelihood of forced and child labor in the production of goods and (2) the current practices of governments to collaborate with private-sector actors in such efforts. This information will be used to improve and update the department’s Comply Chain: Business Tools for Labor Compliance in Global Supply Chains to help companies and industry groups seeking to develop robust social compliance systems for their global production.
Companies in all industries are being encouraged to conduct reviews of their supply chains as international scrutiny of the use of forced labor intensifies. Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg offers a comprehensive suite of services to help companies address forced labor concerns around the world, including supply chain reviews, due diligence strategies, and proactive remediation. ST&R also maintains a frequently updated web page offering a broad range of information on forced labor-related efforts in the U.S. and around the world. For more information, please contact ST&R at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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