Combatting Forced Labor: The US Government’s Efforts and the Role of Businesses in Ensuring Supply Chain Transparency

The fight against forced labor continues as the US government takes significant steps to combat this issue. According to a recent report by CNBC, federal authorities have seized $961 million worth of goods since late June 2020 over suspected ties to forced labor. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has been enforcing the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA), which is a top priority for the department. The CBP’s goal is to prevent merchandise from being made with forced labor by enforcing the UFLPA and other laws. The CBP is also focusing on supply chain security and economic security. Businesses that are doing business with federal agencies are required to disclose any instances of forced labor within their supply chains on an annual basis.

Transparency of supply chain management 

Transparency is a cornerstone of supply chain management, and it is important for businesses to know where their products are being made, how they are being made, and who is making them. The U.S. government has taken steps to increase transparency by requiring companies doing business with federal agencies to disclose instances of forced labor within their supply chains. Technology has also been a key tool in the fight against forced labor, as it can help ensure compliance with regulations such as the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA).

Education to empower your business

Education is one of the most effective ways to combat forced labor in supply chains. By providing resources that explain how this law applies to them and their supply chains, we can empower companies to take action against modern slavery in their operations and supply chains. The role of government in enforcing the UFLPA is to ensure businesses are compliant, penalize those who are not, and provide resources for victims. The Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) is responsible for investigating claims of forced labor under this law.

Overall,  the US government is taking significant steps to combat forced labor and other forms of human trafficking. There is still much work to be done in order for supply chain transparency to become a reality. The US government should continue its efforts by encouraging companies to adopt policies that prevent forced labor from occurring within their supply chains, working with the private sector on solutions such as blockchain technology, continuing education efforts for businesses and consumers alike, and holding corporations accountable when they fail to meet standards set forth by law or industry regulations.

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