Forced Labor

  • CBP Detains Shipment of Hair Products from China for Suspected Forced Labor

    Today U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced that they detained a shipment of products/accessories made with human hair suspected to be produced with forced labor. The products originated from Xinjiang, China and were detained in accordance with a Withhold Release Order (WRO) on hair products manufactured by Lop County Meixin Hair Product Co. Ltd. The WRO was issued based on information that reasonably indicates they were manufactured with prison labor. The WRO issued gives the importer an opportunity to either export the goods or demonstrate the goods were not made with forced labor. 

  • CRS Releases Updated Report about Forced Labor

    This week the Congressional Research Service (CRS) released an update explaining Section 307 of the Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. §1307), which prohibits the importation of any product that was mined, produced, or manufactured wholly or in part by forced labor. CRS reviews the application of Section 307 including the use of Withhold Release Orders. When looking at trends CSR noted "there has been some legislative activity on this issue in the 116th Congress. The Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act (H.R. 649 and S. 178), for example, urges U.S. companies operating in Xinjiang to, “take steps…to publicly assert…that their supply chains are not compromised by forced labor.” The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (S. 3471), includes a “rebuttable presumption” that all goods produced or manufactured in Xinjiang are made with forced labor and thus prohibited imports unless CBP determines otherwise." 

  • Fashion Trade Groups Urge Action on Forced Labor in Xinjiang

    “We are deeply concerned by reports of forced labor and the treatment of Uyghurs and other ethnic minority workers in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region and elsewhere in China. The reported situation is of a scale, scope and complexity that is unprecedented during the modern era of global supply chains."

    An article published by Women's Wear Daily titled "Fashion Trade Groups Urge Action on Forced Labor in Xinjiang" quotes the industry statement on forced labor from USFIA, RILA, NRF, FDRA, and AAFA.

    Click to read the full article.

  • Joint Statement from AAFA, NRF, RILA, and USFIA on House Passage of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (H.R. 6210)

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    Joint Statement from AAFA, NRF, RILA, and USFIA on House Passage of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (H.R. 6210)


    Washington, DC - September 22, 2020 - What we are witnessing in XUAR is of great concern to our entire industry. Forced labor in any form is intolerable, as is repression of ethnic minorities, wherever it takes place. The situation in this region is of a scale, scope, and complexity that is unprecedented in modern supply chains. Our country and world must unite to end these practices.

    We share the goals of the legislation – to end forced labor and the larger campaign of oppression it is fueling – yet we fear this bill will not help us get closer to that end goal. Instead, the legislation would establish a “guilty until proven innocent” blanket standard, directly contradicting U.S. jurisprudence and due process, branding anything and everything associated with XUAR as made with forced labor. Such an approach would do further harm to human rights, economic development, legitimate supply chains, and will jeopardize the livelihoods of millions of workers worldwide without specifically addressing human rights concerns.

    A successful solution for all involved, above all for the workers themselves, will require state-to-state engagement and collaborative partnerships. The U.S. Government must take a leadership role in an effort that combines industry, NGOs, unions, Congress, the U.S. government, and other governments. That effort must develop and implement a comprehensive and holistic strategy that most effectively advances us to our mutual end goal – to end forced labor practices and the larger campaign they fuel. We stand ready to work with all stakeholders to find an enforceable solution that effectively protects human rights.

    Press Contacts:

    USFIA Media Contact:
    Shannon Brady
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    AAFA Media Contact:
    Alexander Gibson
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    RILA Media Contact:
    Melissa Murdock
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    NRF Media Contact:
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    About the United States Fashion Industry Association
    The United States Fashion Industry Association (USFIA) is dedicated to fashion made possible by global trade. USFIA represents brands, retailers, importers, and wholesalers based in the United States and doing business globally. Founded in 1989, USFIA works to eliminate tariff and non-tariff barriers that impede the fashion industry’s ability to trade freely and create jobs in the United States.

    Headquartered in Washington, D.C., USFIA is the voice of the fashion industry in front of the U.S.
    government as well as international governments and stakeholders. With constant, two-way
    communication, USFIA staff and counsel serve as the eyes and ears of our members in Washington and around the world, enabling them to stay ahead of the regulatory challenges of today and tomorrow. Through our publications, educational events, and networking opportunities, USFIA also connects with key stakeholders across the value chain including U.S. and international service providers, suppliers, and industry groups.

    About the American Apparel & Footwear Association
    The American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) is the national trade association representing
    apparel, footwear and other sewn products companies, and their suppliers, which compete in the global market. Representing more than 1,000 world famous name brands, we are the trusted public policy and political voice of the apparel and footwear industry, its management and shareholders, its nearly four million U.S. workers, and its contribution of more than $400 billion in annual U.S. retail sales. AAFA provides exclusive expertise in trade, brand protection, and supply chain & manufacturing to help our members navigate the complex regulatory environment and lower costs. Members gain unparalleled access to information and exclusive insights on regulation and policy, and premier opportunities for networking and collaboration.

    About NRF
    The National Retail Federation, the world’s largest retail trade association, passionately advocates for the people, brands, policies and ideas that help retail thrive. From its headquarters in Washington, D.C., NRF empowers the industry that powers the economy. Retail is the nation’s largest private-sector employer, contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP and supporting one in four U.S. jobs — 42 million working Americans. For over a century, NRF has been a voice for every retailer and every retail job, educating, inspiring and communicating the powerful impact retail has on local communities and global economies.

    About RILA
    RILA is the US trade association for leading retailers. We convene decision-makers, advocate for the
    industry, and promote operational excellence and innovation. Our aim is to elevate a dynamic industry by transforming the environment in which retailers operate. RILA members include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers, and service suppliers, which together account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales, millions of American jobs, and more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities, and distribution centers domestically and abroad.

  • Major Apparel and Retail Trade Groups Condemn Forced Labor in Chinese Supply Chains

    “We are deeply concerned by reports of forced labor and the treatment of Uyghurs and other ethnic minority workers in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region and elsewhere in China. The reported situation is of a scale, scope and complexity that is unprecedented during the modern era of global supply chain". 

    An article published by California Apparel News titled "Major Apparel and Retail Trade Groups Condemn Forced Labor in Chinese Supply Chains" quoted the joint statement on forced labor from USFIA, RILA, NRF, FDRA, and AAFA. 

    Read the full article here

     

  • Media Alert: USFIA Testifies Before the Senate Finance Committee on the Fight Against Forced Labor

    Media Alert: USFIA Testifies Before the Senate Finance Committee on the Fight Against Forced Labor

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    Washington, DC – This morning, United States Fashion Industry Association (USFIA) President Julia K. Hughes testified before the Senate Finance Committee on Fighting Forced Labor: Closing Loopholes and Improving Customs Enforcement to Mandate Clean Supply Chains and Protect Workers.

    She testified on behalf of the industry about the fight against forced labor and how to improve enforcement to reach our shared goal of elimination of forced labor. Even before very public media reports about forced labor, the industry along with apparel, footwear, and retail associations joined together to create a forced labor working group. In addition to sharing resources and best practices, the industry is pioneering and implementing new technologies and innovative approaches to decipher where supply chains are susceptible to forced labor.

    In USFIA’s testimony, we highlight the need for a multi-stakeholder approach that includes a combination of civil society, NGOs, companies, governments, and international institutions to reach the shared goal of eliminating forced labor.

    Hughes also outlines how the U.S. Government can help us tackle forced labor in the supply chain. USFIA supports a “whole of government” approach that would create a strategy to span across the State Department, USTR, the Department of Labor, the Commerce Department, the NSC, and USDA.

    Looking at the role of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to implement enforcement measures, USFIA strongly encourages transparency in the approach to improve enforcement efforts. We support a series of recommendations released this week by the Commercial Customs Operations Advisory Committee (COAC) Intelligent Enforcement Subcommittee Forced Labor Working Group that urge CBP to expand its communication and collaboration with the trade and adopt “objective” methodology to measure the success of their enforcement efforts from the communities most impacted by forced labor rather than enforcement output.

    “The task is not easy (to put it mildly). My personal belief is that to eliminate forced labor we need to go beyond what companies can do on their own, and go beyond an emphasis on punitive measures, to use multi-stakeholder approaches. The combination of civil society, NGOs, companies, governments and international institutions is needed to reach our shared goal to eliminate forced labor.”

    Click here to read her full testimony as prepared for the hearing.

    To speak with Hughes or another industry expert, contact Shannon Brady, USFIA Communications Director, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

  • NRF, AAFA, FDRA, RILA, USFIA ISSUE JOINT STATEMENT ON REPORTS OF FORCED LABOR

    March 10, 2020

    SBG media published a blog post titled "NRF, AAFA, FDRA, RILA, USFIA ISSUE JOINT STATEMENT ON REPORTS OF FORCED LABOR".  In this post, they shared the full joint industry statement on forced labor. 

    The post can be found here

  • Oberstar's Shipping Act to be Introduced; Uzbek Chronicle of Forced Child Labor

    Textile Development Memo for September 15, 2010

    In This TDM:

  • Update on CBP's Forced Labor Detentions

    The Trade Facilitation & Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 eliminated the “consumptive demand” clause, and U.S. Customs has already taken quick action to detain products suspected to be produced by forced labor. Right away, U.S. Customs has seized products, including some textile products. Frances Hadfield, counsel in Crowell & Moring's International Trade Group in New York City, discusses the new law and how it will impact brands and retailers. She is joined by David Wolff, counsel in the firm's Washington office and consultant with C&M International, the firm's trade policy affiliate, who discusses DPRK sanctions and recent reports that North Koreans are working for Chinese manufacturers just over the China-DPRK border.

    USFIA members can login to access the webinar. If you're not a member, click here to purchase the webinar or contact us for information on membership! 

  • Update on Forced Labor Enforcement featuring ICE

    Our presenter was Kenneth Kennedy, Senior Policy Advisor for Forced Labor Programs at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Immigration & Customs Enforcement. He shared changes to the consumptive demand law and described current U.S. Government enforcement activities as well as insight into what companies need to do to increase supply chain transparency and corporate social responsibility. 

    USFIA members can login to access the webinar. If you're not a member, click here to purchase the webinar or contact us for information on membership!

  • USFIA Joins Cotton Campaign Statement Asking Uzbekistan to End Forced Labor in Cotton Sector

    On September 8th, the United States Fashion Industry Association (USFIA) joined a Cotton Campaign statement on the start of the annual cotton harvest in Uzbekistan. The Cotton Campaign is a global coalition including trade unions, human rights NGOs, socially responsible investors, and business groups. The Cotton Campaign urges the Uzbek government to take immediate steps to stop the practices that are “modern day slavery” and, most importantly, allow independent organizations and the International Labour Organization (ILO) to monitor labor conditions in the fields. The statement is available on the Cotton Campaign website.

  • USFIA Joins Letters Opposing Forced Labor in Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan

    On April 21, 2015, the United States Fashion Industry Association (USFIA) joined two Cotton Campaign letters to Secretary of State John Kerry urging the State Department to take action against the use of forced labor in Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. In particular, the letters urge the State Department to keep Uzbekistan at Tier 3 in the 2015 Global Trafficking in Persons Report, and place Turkmenistan at Tier 3 in the report. The Uzbekistan letter is available here, and the Turkmenistan letter is available here. More information on forced labor in both countries is available at www.CottonCampaign.org.

  • WWD: Customs Cracks Down on Imports Made by Forced Labor

    By Kristi Ellis

    Julia Hughes, president at the U.S. Fashion Industry Association, said the group’s counsel was reviewing the statute.

    “The impact will depend on the process,” Hughes said. “Most companies already ban the use of forced labor by their suppliers, so we would be surprised for major manufacturers to be charged. However, we will be talking with CBP and look forward to better understanding the targeting process.”

    Click here to read the entire article on the WWD website.