Only You Can Prevent Forced Labor In Your Supply Chain

The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA) goes into effect on June 21, 2002.

The UFLPA was signed into law by President Biden on December 23, 2021.  It establishes a rebuttable presumption that the importation of any goods, wares, articles, and merchandise mined, produced, or manufactured wholly or in part in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China, or produced by certain entities, is prohibited by Section 307 of the Tariff Act of 1930 and that such goods, wares, articles, and merchandise are not entitled to entry to the United States.

The presumption applies unless the Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) determines that the importer of record has complied with specified conditions and, by clear and convincing evidence, that the goods, wares, articles, or merchandise were not produced using forced labor.

What Can You Do?

Ensure your goods are not made with forced labor by following these practical steps.



  • Restriction of movement
  • Retention of ID documents/passports
  • Deception
  • Abusive working and living conditions
  • Withholding of wages
  • Excessive overtime
  • Isolation
  • Debt bondage
  • Intimidation and threats of violence


  • Language that refers to poverty alleviation efforts
  • Facilities located near internment camps or prisons
  • High revenues but few employees
  • Cheap labor = forced labor
  • Sell more than they produce
  • Use non-standard hiring practices, such as government recruiters
  • Employees have received training from education, re-education, or re-skilling vocational training centers or are ethnic minority graduates
  • Workers live in accommodations provided by the supplier
  • Staffing patterns, especially around holidays, that indicate workers are not free to travel


  • Unrealistic demands can unintentionally create pressures that may lead to the abuse of workers, including:
    • Extremely short lead times which require the hiring of additional staff
    • Below-market prices that force suppliers and their vendors to cut costs



  • Outline anti-slavery and anti-trafficking expectations
  • Provide suppliers with a copy of your Business Code of Conduct, which includes anti-slavery and anti-trafficking statements
  • Require suppliers to provide you with their Code of Conduct, which includes:
    • Anti-slavery and anti-trafficking statements
    • Working conditions
    • Workers’ rights
    • Business partner expectations
  • Get to know your suppliers
    • Ask about their recruitment and compensation policies, including the names of their third-party staffing agencies and the party responsible for paying workers’ salaries
    • Ask what a typical day looks like for their workers (i.e., hours worked, how they spend their evenings, etc.)


  • Incorporate human rights expectations, such as just and ethical labor practices and remedial actions for workers whose rights are abused
  • Rights to audit, including human rights audits
  • Supplier’s supply chains will comply with all applicable anti-slavery and human trafficking laws and regulations, including the Modern Slavery Act 2015
  • Due diligence and response obligations


If you discover – or even suspect – there’s forced labor in your supply chain, your #1 priority is to find other sources for your product.  While it might well increase the cost of your goods, it’ll be worth it in the long run.  Not only will you protect your business from incurring hefty fines and penalties, you will also save your reputation with those that matter most to you – your customers.

What is Forced Labor?

According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), forced labor is all work or service that is exacted from a person under the threat of a penalty or for which the person has not offered himself or herself voluntarily.  The U.S. further defines forced labor to include forced or compulsory labor under threat, fraud, or coercion.  Examples of forced labor include domestic servitude, child labor, bonded labor, and forced sexual services.

The ILO estimates that there are 24.9 million victims of forced labor across the globe, with children accounting for 1 out of every 4 victims.  While the majority of those trapped in forced labor are exploited by the private sector, many governments also exploit the form of modern day slavery in state-run prisons, convict leasing programs, and reeducation camps.


Global Forced Labor Statistics


What Goods are Produced with Forced Labor?

Electronics.  Clothes.  Shoes.  Food.  Wine and alcohol.  Many of the products we buy, sell, and use every day are produced by people trapped in forced labor.  Forced labor exists across all levels of the supply chain – from picking or mining raw materials, such as cotton or cobalt, to the manufacturing of products such as cell phones or clothing, and even in later stages of shipping and delivery to customers.  Goods produced with the most child labor or forced labor span across the agricultural, manufacturing, and mining/quarrying industries and include:

  • Cocoa
  • Coffee
  • Cotton
  • Electronics
  • Fireworks
  • Footwear
  • Garments
  • Gold and Diamonds
  • Hair Products
  • Soap and Detergents
  • Sugarcane
  • Textiles



For more information, please visit CBP’s Forced Labor website located at