U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) personnel in Cleveland seized a shipment of 3.97 million nitrile disposable gloves due to information indicating they were made by forced labor, a form of modern slavery.
On March 29, CBP directed personnel at all U.S. ports of entry to begin seizing disposable gloves produced in Malaysia by Top Glove Corporation Bhd. (Top Glove). The shipment in Cleveland was seized after an inspection by CBP officers revealed that the gloves were produced in Malaysia by a subsidiary of Top Glove. The estimated value of the shipment was $518,000.
“This seizure sends a strong message that CBP will not tolerate imports made by forced labor, which is a form of modern slavery that hurts vulnerable workers and threatens our economy,” said Diann Rodriguez, Area Port Director-Cleveland. “CBP continues to facilitate the importation of legitimate PPE needed for the COVID-19 pandemic while ensuring that the PPE is authorized and safe for use.”
CBP issued a forced labor finding on March 29 based on evidence of multiple forced labor indicators in Top Glove’s production process, including debt bondage, excessive overtime, abusive working and living conditions, and retention of identity documents.
Federal statute 19 U.S.C. 1307 prohibits the importation of merchandise mined, manufactured, or produced, wholly or in part, by convict labor, forced labor, and/or indentured labor, including forced or indentured child labor. CBP will seize shipments subject to findings unless the importer can prove to CBP’s satisfaction that, per 19 C.F.R §12.43, the merchandise was not produced with forced labor.
CBP receives allegations of forced labor from a variety of sources, including from the public. Any person or organization that has reason to believe merchandise produced with the use of forced labor is being – or is likely to be – imported into the United States can report detailed allegations by contacting CBP through the e-Allegations Online Trade Violation Reporting System or by calling 1-800-BE-ALERT.
CBP conducts operations at ports of entry throughout the United States, and regularly screens arriving international passengers and cargo for narcotics, weapons, and other restricted or prohibited products. CBP strives to serve as the premier law enforcement agency enhancing the Nation’s safety, security, and prosperity through collaboration, innovation, and integration.