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Forced Labor

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This week Florida’s two senators, Marco Rubio and Rick Scott, introduced a bill imposing several China specific public disclosure obligations, including disclosures related to sourcing activities related to products utilizing forced labor from Xinjiang, China (“the Bill”). The Bill would apply to all publicly traded companies and supplements the proposed SEC environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) disclosures, discussed here, and the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (“UFLPA”), which will come into effect in June 2022…

In a sign that Congress continues to pursue bipartisan efforts to combat the use of forced labor in supply chains, Senators Josh Hawley (R-MO) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) have reintroduced the Slave-Free Business Certification Act of 2022 (“the Act”). The Act is substantively similar to a July 2020 bill, which we have previously discussed on our blog. The Act would impose significant new compliance and disclosure requirements for many companies, requiring businesses with annual, worldwide…

On 23 February 2022, the EU Commission published its proposal for a directive on corporate sustainability due diligence obligations, which aims to foster sustainable and responsible corporate behaviour throughout global value chains. Scope The new due diligence rules will apply to: all EU limited liability companies with 500+ employees and EUR 150 million+ in net turnover worldwide (“Group 1”); and other limited liability companies operating in defined high impact sectors (e.g. the textile, mining and…

The potential impact of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (“Act”) is sweeping. For companies concerned about potential supply chain disruptions, there is now opportunity to help shape the enforcement strategy required under the Act. On January 24, 2022, the Department of Homeland Security published in the Federal Register a request for public comments. To date, few comments have been submitted. US importers and other interested parties should consider submitting comments that will both inform…

The compromise version of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (HR 6256) (“Act”) was recently passed by both chambers of Congress, and the legislation is now cleared for President Biden’s signature. It is expected that President Biden will sign the legislation into law soon. With strong bipartisan support, earlier versions of this legislation had passed the US House and Senate in the preceding months, and lawmakers reached an agreement that merged versions from each chamber. …

A recent Washington Post article about child labor in the Brazilian acai industry underscores the need for companies to develop compliance programs intended to identify and mitigate the risk of possible child labor in their supply chains. Not only is acai used in trendy health foods as noted in the article, but acai is also used as a base for other products. The article focuses on acai berries sourced from two regions in Brazil that…

On November 10, the Department of State (“DOS”), Department of Treasury, and Department of Commerce released an advisory titled “Considerations for US Companies and Organizations that Conduct Business in Cambodia within Key Sectors or in Partnership with High Risk Entities” (the “Cambodia Advisory”). The Cambodia Advisory is focused on corporations and, according to the accompanying press release, is meant to caution businesses currently operating, or considering operations, in Cambodia to be mindful of interactions with…

Background on Lawsuit On November 2, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia dismissed the suit brought by a class of child laborers who mine cobalt in the Democratic Republic of Congo (“DRC”) against several US tech companies under the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (“TVPRA”) and several common law based causes of action. TVPRA allows victims of human trafficking and certain other crimes such as forced labor to bring civil claims…

On October 8, the US Department of Labor (“DOL”) published a notice requesting information and comments on the following three reports on child labor and forced labor practices in foreign countries that are published by the US Bureau of International Labor Affairs (“ILAB”).  The comments will be used in preparing the 2022 edition of the TDA Report and TVPRA List, as well as any updates to the E.O. List.  The three reports are the US…

On 15 September, during the 2021 State of the Union Address, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced the European Commission’s intention to introduce a ban on the import of products made with forced labour into the EU market. In her Address, the Commission President noted that there are “25 million people…who are threatened or coerced into forced labour” and that “doing business around the world…can never be done at the expense of people’s…