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  4. DHS Takes Action to Combat Forced Labor and Hold Companies Accountable for Exploiting Workers

DHS Takes Action to Combat Forced Labor and Hold Companies Accountable for Exploiting Workers

Release Date: January 28, 2022

Issues Withhold Release Order and Two Forced Labor Findings on Companies Exploiting Workers 

WASHINGTON – Today, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas announced that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issued a new Withhold Release Order and two new forced labor Findings. By barring goods produced with forced labor from entering the United States, the Department is playing a critical role in protecting human rights and enforcing international labor standards. This week, Secretary Mayorkas also announced that he has designated the DHS Chief Procurement Officer as the Department’s Senior Accountable Official to prevent forced labor and other forms of human trafficking in all DHS contracts and acquisitions. 

“The dedicated CBP workforce has again taken significant action to combat forced labor and protect the human rights of workers around the world,” said Secretary Mayorkas. “Today’s Withhold Release Order and Forced Labor Findings are another important step toward ending these abhorrent practices. We will continue to leverage all of our authorities and resources to bar goods produced with forced labor from entering the United States, and with my designation earlier this week of a Senior Accountable Official to prevent human trafficking in DHS contracts, we are leading efforts to ensure that no taxpayer dollars are ever used to purchase goods or services that rely on forced labor.” 

“CBP is entering the new year with a renewed commitment to investigating and enforcing the U.S. prohibition against importing goods made with forced labor,” said CBP Commissioner Chris Magnus. “We will again dedicate significant resources to rooting out the evil and inhumane practices of forced labor.” 

Effective today, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers and import specialists at all U.S. ports of entry will detain disposable gloves produced in Malaysia by YTY Industry Holdings Sdn Bhd (YTY Group), including YTY Industry Sdn Bhd, Green Prospect Sdn Bhd, and GP Lumut. 

CBP issued a Withhold Release Order (WRO) against YTY Group based on information that reasonably indicates the use of forced labor in YTY Group’s manufacturing operations. CBP identified seven of the International Labour Organization’s eleven indicators of forced labor during its investigation: abuse of vulnerability, deception, retention of identity documents, intimidation and threats, debt bondage, abusive working and living conditions, and excessive overtime. 

CBP today also announced two new forced labor Findings. Effective immediately, CBP personnel at all U.S. ports of entry will seize palm oil and merchandise containing palm oil traceable to the Malaysian company Sime Darby Plantation Berhad (Sime Darby), including its subsidiaries and joint ventures. CBP will also seize seafood harvested by the Vanuatu-flagged fishing vessel, Da Wang, which is owned and operated by the Taiwanese company Yong Feng Fishery Ltd. 

CBP determined that Sime Darby and Da Wang use forced labor in their operations, and that both companies’ goods are being, or are likely to be, imported into the United States. CBP’s investigations found evidence of all 11 of the International Labour Organization’s forced labor indicators on the Da Wang vessel and Sime Darby Plantation’s palm oil plantations. CBP published both forced labor Findings in the Customs Bulletin and the Federal Register. All forced labor enforcement actions are publicly available and listed by country on CBP’s Forced Labor Withhold Release Orders and Findings page

The DHS Chief Procurement Officer, as the Department’s Senior Accountable Official for preventing human trafficking in DHS contracts and acquisitions, will be responsible for ensuring effective implementation of anti-trafficking rules and best practices. These practices include information sharing and tracking, contracting officer trainings, suspension and debarment actions, and criminal referrals.  

CBP is a critical component of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Center for Countering Human Trafficking (CCHT), a cross-Department coordination center for countering sex trafficking and forced labor, including the importation of goods produced with forced labor. Its mission is to advance counter-human trafficking law enforcement operations, protect victims, and enhance prevention efforts by aligning DHS’s capabilities and expertise. Visit the DHS Center for Countering Human Trafficking to learn more about our Department-wide efforts to combat human trafficking. 

Last Updated: 02/02/2022
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