Forced Labor, Informed Compliance and Enforcement

“Have you taken reliable measures to ensure imported goods are not produced wholly or in part with convict labor, forced labor, and/or indentured labor (including forced or indentured child labor)?”

This is the basic question CBP asks in their revised version of the Informed Compliance Publication (ICP) – “Reasonable Care” – a revision brought about by the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 (TFTEA). This Act was signed into law on February 24, 2016 and is said to be “the first comprehensive authorization of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) since the Department of Homeland Security was created in 2003, with the overall objective to ensure a fair and competitive trade environment.”

CBP has revised the Reasonable Care Publication to include a section addressing a highly targeted issue – Forced Labor.

As defined in Section 307 of the Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. § 1307):

Forced labor, as herein used, shall mean all work or service which is exacted from any person under the menace of any penalty for its nonperformance and for which the worker does not offer himself voluntarily. For purposes of this section, the term “forced labor or/and indentured labor” includes forced or indentured child labor.

CBP has a Trade Community Outreach program that provides valuable resources to importers. One such resource has clearly stated that importing merchandise that is mined, produced or manufactured, wholly or in part, in any foreign country by forced or indentured child labor – including forced child labor is prohibited. This merchandise may be denied entry, possibly seized and may lead to criminal investigation of the importer(s). More information on Forced Labor and what you can do as part of your due diligence in the importing process, is available on the CBP web page.

If you have any questions or require more information, please contact C J’s Compliance Officer, Samya Murray at

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