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Forced Labor

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Overview On July 20, 2020, Republican Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri introduced the Slave-Free Business Certification Act (“the Act”). If passed, the Act would require every “covered business entity” — defined as any issuer under section 2(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 that has annual, world-wide gross receipts of $500 million — to audit and report on instances of forced labor in their supply chains. Companies that deliberately violate the Act could be liable…

Child labor and other human rights violations occur around the world, and completely eliminating them from corporate supply chains is a daunting task. However, companies can take several steps to mitigate the risk of violations in their supply chains while demonstrating a firm commitment to responsible sourcing. A recent British documentary highlights both the importance of these steps as well as the limits of even the most aggressive measures. Britain’s Channel 4 Dispatches recently aired…

The U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) has reiterated its commitment to combating child and forced labor in supply chains, with an apparent regional focus on South America, Africa, and Southeast Asia. The U.S. government’s continued push on labor violations in corporate supply chains is further evidence that companies should be considering how well their compliance programs cover detection and deterrence of these abuses in their supply chains. On January 27, 2020, the DOL announced that…

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is continuing to step up its enforcement of the U.S. import ban on goods made, wholly or in part, with forced labor (19 U.S.C. ยง 1307). Senior CBP leadership has recently confirmed that it is examining goods and commodities originating in Xinjiang, China, for potential enforcement activity. Separately, the U.S.-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) implementing bill, which was signed into law by President Trump on January 29, 2020 (Pub. L. 116-113), contains…