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.”