U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement Joins Forces With NGO to Prosecute Corporate Modern Slavery

U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement Joins Forces With NGO to Prosecute Corporate Modern Slavery

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Global Trade Investigations Division is partnering with Hong Kong-based non-governmental organization Liberty Shared to gather information about companies that profit from slave labor. This partnership has been established to help build criminal prosecutions of companies that benefit, directly or indirectly, from modern slavery in their supply chains.

This partnership is the first of its kind and will increase enforcement of existing U.S. anti-slavery trade laws while holding companies to account. Liberty Shared’s data infrastructure of corporate supply chains and financial flows will help fill gaps in ICE’s enforcement capabilities, which have allowed businesses to benefit from forced labor with “seeming impunity,” according to ICE’s press release about the partnership.

In 2016, the U.S. Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act effectively banned the import of goods made with forced labor by closing a “consumptive demand” loophole in the U.S. Tariff Act of 1930. To date, authorities have seized approximately $6.3 million in goods under this trade ban. Despite this progress, nearly $144 billion in imports are known to be at risk of slave labor, much of it coming from G20 countries.

Is your company in scope of U.S. human trafficking and slavery regulations? Find out in our eBook, Human Trafficking, Slavery & Your Supply Chain.

Increases in Human Trafficking & Slavery Enforcement Anticipated

No country or supply chain is insulated from human trafficking and slavery risk. It is estimated that nearly 25 million people throughout the world are trapped in forced labor, and many of them are hidden in complex global supply chains.

According to ICE’s press release, “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 market, [ICE] seeks to have a positive impact on reducing forced labor.” As such, companies that import products into the U.S. can expert greater scrutiny of their supply chains.

Greater Need for Data-Backed Due Diligence

The partnership between ICE and Liberty Shared places a strong emphasis on sharing data to improve transparency. Liberty Shared’s partnerships with major civil, financial, legal and IT organizations have allowed it to amass a wealth of supply chain data that provides unique insights into forced labor within the U.S. and around the globe.

Gathering, analyzing and reporting on supply chain data is vital for demonstrating due diligence. This foundational data is increasingly key to full regulatory compliance, ensuring alignment with modern slavery laws.

The Assent Compliance Platform allows companies to efficiently collect, manage and analyze supply chain data from a single location. Our Human Rights Module automates the data collection and management process, leveraging the industry-standard Slavery and Trafficking Risk Template (STRT). To learn more about how Assent can help you manage your data, contact us at info@assentcompliance.com.