Forced labor is considered modern-day slavery and affects about 25 million people around the globe. One team at Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is working to stop goods made in those conditions from entering the American market. Ana Hinojosa, executive director of the Trade Remedy Law Enforcement Directorate at CBP, and Eric Choy, deputy executive director, won the 2021 People’s Choice Award for the Service to America Medals from the Partnership for Public Service for their work on this issue.
- Hinojosa and Choy said their efforts have influenced other countries to change laws and companies to improve working conditions and have led to reimbursements and better living situations for laborers.
- Choy said the agency investigates allegations that come in and moves forward with enforcement action if it finds the goods were produced using forced labor.
- Hinojosa said the office uses its customs authority to inspect and detain goods and either destroys or requires the export of products violating the laws.
- She said in 2016, Congress eliminated a loophole preventing enforcement, and since then her organization has received more appropriations and increased its staff and investigative branches.
- Choy said more companies have started advertising their due diligence and corporate social responsibility programs since the agency has stepped up its enforcement of forced labor laws.
Watch the full interview: