WASHINGTON – The non-partisan, non-profit Partnership for Public Service selected the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency’s Forced Labor Team as a finalist for the 2021 Service to America Medal (” Sammies â) in the Security, Safety and International Affairs category. The Sammies, sometimes referred to as the âOscarsâ of government service, are a highly respected honor thanks to a rigorous selection process.
Led by Executive Director Ana B. Hinojosa and Deputy Executive Director Eric Choy, the CBP Forced Labor Team is tasked with investigating and preventing goods suspected of being manufactured with forced labor. United States.
âThis appointment of Sammies is a testament to the incredible work Executive Director Hinojosa, Deputy Executive Director Choy and CBP experts do every day to protect vulnerable workers, American consumers and our economy,â said Troy Miller, senior official in charge. stain. from the CBP Commissioner. âThe importation of goods produced by forced labor is illegal, dangerous for American consumers, harmful to American industry and contrary to our common values ââas a nation. In just a few short years, the CBP team established the United States as the world leader in preventing the entry of these goods into the United States. “
According to the International Labor Organization, 25 million people suffer from forced labor conditions around the world. These conditions include physical and sexual violence, debt bondage, withholding of wages and other human rights violations. Goods made through forced labor hurt workers, undermine law-abiding US businesses, and subject unsuspecting US consumers to unethical purchases.
Under the leadership of Executive Director Hinojosa and Deputy Executive Director Choy, CBP has developed a robust program of civilian investigations to identify forced labor in U.S. supply chains and take appropriate enforcement action. When CBP has information reasonably indicating that certain goods are manufactured through forced labor, the agency will issue a stay order to prevent those goods from being imported into the United States. CBP can also impose monetary penalties for certain forced labor offenses and refer cases to Homeland Security investigations for criminal investigation.
Since 2016, CBP has issued 29 restraining orders on goods, including cotton products from China’s Xinjiang region, palm oil from Malaysia, and seafood from various fishing vessels. During that same period, CBP prevented more than $ 100 million worth of products made by forced labor from entering the US trade, including hair products made from human hair. Last year, CBP imposed the first monetary penalty for imports of forced labor in recent history and also issued the first finding of forced labor in a quarter of a century. In March, CBP took an additional finding due to the use of forced labor in the production of disposable gloves. These are the only such coercive measures in the world.
âCBP’s anti-fraud efforts have not only kept products made by forced labor from entering the United States, but they have also convinced companies to clean up their supply chains and change their business practices to the best, âsaid John Leonard, Acting Executive Assistant Commissioner of the CBP Trade Office. âThis means better working conditions for hundreds of thousands of workers, a more competitive global business environment and less risk for American consumers and businesses.â
CBP’s anti-fraud authorities are limited to U.S. supply chains, but that hasn’t stopped the agency from working with foreign governments to raise global awareness and strengthen global efforts to end forced labor. . Canada and Mexico have committed to working with the United States to address forced labor under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, and CBP continues its discussions on the application of forced labor with like-minded partners in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.
CBP maintains a proud tradition of vigilance, integrity and excellence in the public service. Since 2015, the Sammies have recognized CBP employees for using pollen analysis to solve serious crimes; set up a facial comparison system to secure and facilitate international travel; the establishment of an electronic single window for imports and exports which has saved government and businesses billions of dollars; and reduce waiting times at airports while ensuring the highest possible security standards.
The Sammies are the first top awards program in the US government. Renamed Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals in 2010 to commemorate the organization’s founder, the program has honored more than 500 outstanding federal employees since its inception in 2002. More information on the program and the 2021 finalists are available in line.
Anyone can support CBP’s nomination for the Service to America Medal by visiting servicetoamericamedals.org. Every vote for the CBP team supports the effort to end modern slavery.
Click here to request an interview with Executive Director Hinojosa and / or Deputy Executive Director Choy.
Visit the CBP DVIDS page for the b-roll list of CBP’s anti-forced labor actions. Photos of goods produced by forced labor and held by CBP are available here and here.
More information on CBP’s efforts to combat forced labor is available on CBP.gov or on Twitter @CBP and @CBPTradeGov.