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Zimbabwe: Marange Diamonds hit by U.S. customs and border protection withhold release orders for forced labour allegations

“CBP Issues Detention Orders against Companies Suspected of Using Forced Labor” 1 October 2019

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issued five Withhold Release Orders (WROs) covering five different products, imported from five different countries yesterday, September 30. This action was based on information obtained and reviewed by CBP that indicates that the products are produced, in whole or in part, using forced labor. “A major part of CBP’s mission is facilitating legitimate trade and travel,” said Acting CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan. “CBP’s issuing of these five withhold release orders shows that if we suspect a product is made using forced labor, we’ll take that product off U.S. shelves.”

Under U.S. law, it is illegal to import goods into the U.S that are made wholly or in part by forced labor, which includes convict labor, indentured labor, and forced or indentured child labor. When sufficient information is available, CBP may detain goods believed to have been produced with forced labor by issuing a WRO. Importers have the opportunity to either re-export the detained shipments at any time or to submit information to CBP demonstrating that the goods are not in violation.

…Investigations may be initiated a number of ways, including news reports and tips from either the public or trade community. CBP may also self-initiate an investigation into the use of forced labor in any given supply chain. “CBP works extensively with our stakeholders, the media, and private sector businesses to gather information on forced labor in global supply chains and educate importers on U.S. compliance standards.” said Todd Owen, Executive Assistant Commissioner, CBP Office of Field Operations, “And we encourage the trade community to know their supply chains to ensure goods imported into our country are not produced with forced labor.”

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