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18 Aug 2020

Cliff White, SeafoodSource

FCF-linked vessels outed by US government as likely using forced labor

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18 August 2020

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Trade has placed a Withhold Release Order (WRO) on all seafood harvested by the Taiwanese-owned, Vanuatu-flagged fishing vessel Da Wang “due to reasonable suspicion of forced labor on the vessel.”

The WRO will require detention of seafood harvested by the Da Wang at all U.S. ports of entry. Importers of any detained shipments “will have an opportunity to export their shipments or submit proof to CBP that the merchandise was not produced with forced labor,” according to a CBP press release.

“CBP will continue to enforce the U.S. prohibition of imports produced with forced labor. The agency strongly encourages the trade community to closely monitor all parts of their supply chains to ensure fair business and labor practices,” CBP Office of Trade Executive Assistant Commissioner Brenda Smith said. “We cannot achieve our goal of creating and maintaining an ethical and humane U.S. supply chain without the support of our industry partners, but there will be consequences for those who fail to meet government standards.”


Relying on interviews, documents, and other information, the report painted a picture of Indonesian, Filipino, and other Southeast Asian migrant fishermen working aboard distant-water vessels owned by foreign countries and suffering from mistreatment, human rights abuses, and forced labor.