The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Friday took action against three companies accused of forced labor practices.
US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issued a Withhold Release Order and two forced labor Findings. The Withhold Release Order was issued against Malaysia-based YTY Group, based on information that YTY Group uses forced labor in its manufacturing operations. CBP identified seven out of eleven factors indicating forced labor during its investigation of the company, including activities such as abuse of vulnerability, retention of identity documents, debt bondage, abusive working and living conditions, and excessive overtime.
The two forced labor Findings were issued against Malaysian company Sime Darby Plantation Berhad and the Vanuatu-flagged fishing vessel, Da Wang, owned and operated by the Taiwanese company Yong Feng Fishery Ltd. CBP found evidence of all eleven forced labor indicators at Sime Darby and on the Da Wang. Effective immediately, all palm oil from Sime Darby and seafood from the Da Wang will be seized at all US ports of entry by CBP. Disposable gloves produced by YTY Group will be detained at ports of entry.
DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas called the actions taken by CBP “significant” and said that the United States “will continue to leverage all of our authorities and resources to bar goods produced with forced labor from entering the United States.” He also announced that he has designated the DHS chief procurement officer as the Department’s senior accountable official to prevent forced labor in all the Department’s contracts and acquisitions. As the accountable official, the officer will be responsible for implementation of anti-trafficking rules.