We are very pleased to announce a new relationship with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations’ (HSI) Global Trade Investigations Division, Forced Labor Programs. HSI’s Forced Labor Programs coordinates and initiates criminal investigations into U.S.-bound supply chains whose goods are made wholly or in part by means of forced labor. The importation of goods produced using forced labor into the United States is prohibited by the Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1307) and the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (22 U.S.C. 9241a).
The overarching goal of the Government of the United States in this area is the elimination of forced labor worldwide, and it is by using existing enforcement mechanisms such as those provided in these laws, and potential criminal prosecutions of U.S.-based firms benefitting from, or having knowledge of, forced labor in their supply chains, are a singular deterrent and unique enforcement opportunity in the world. By using these authorities, and by partnering with organizations with information about corporate supply chains and financial flows, HSI hopes to gather information that will lead to successful prosecutions and significant steps being made in eliminating forced labor. By eliminating the financial draw of using forced labor, and any profit to be made by the exploitation of human beings to produce goods for the market, HSI seeks to have a positive impact on reducing forced labor.
Liberty Shared has always firmly believed that businesses and individuals profiting from forced labor should be held accountable and liable. These are matters of criminal and civil law, not just questions of ethical conduct. At present, those benefiting directly and indirectly from engagement in forced labor activities may do so with seeming impunity and those providing the labor are often without access to justice. U.S. laws do provide a number of far-reaching mechanisms to hold accountable those engaging in and benefiting from forced labor and we, with the collaboration of relevant partners, very much want to support the application of these legal mechanisms.
We also believe that it is important that companies with good practices are identified and their efforts to ensure they operate lawfully and provide safe and fair working conditions are well recognized and understood.
As many know, during the last seven years, we have been committed to building a global infrastructure to support the protection of vulnerable people with many partners in civil society, banking/finance, the legal industry, information service and technology providers. Most important are our partners in civil society who hear and record the voices and experiences of the many victims and provide them with vital care. We are very pleased to create a relationship with HSI to support their work in global trade enforcement against the use of forced labor in U.S.-bound supply chains, and hope that we will be able to contribute to the increased accountability of perpetrators and access to justice for their victims.
It is intended that through a relationship with HSI, we will provide civil society with a wider range of opportunities to assist trade law enforcement approaches and strategies against forced labor and modern slavery and to share data, knowledge and research that will improve transparency and access to justice for victims.
To find out more, please find HSI’s statement about the partnership.
-Duncan Jepson, Managing Director