US Takes "America First" Tone to Slave-Made Goods

31
Child SlaveryForced LaborSlavery-Free GoodsSupply Chain

The US Department of Labor has taken a new “America First” tone in publishing its biennial list of foreign goods made using slave or child labor.

Rather than seeing forced labor as primarily a human rights issue, the US government has reframed this as a trade issue, arguing that it is fighting against slave-made goods in order to “safeguard American jobs.”

Related Campaign: Help end forced labor.

In announcing the DOL list — comprised of 148 goods produced in 76 countries — Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta said, “American workers cannot compete with producers abroad who use child labor or forced labor.”

“The U.S. will do what it takes to protect vulnerable workers from exploitation, safeguard American jobs, and create a fair playing field for countries that play by the rules,” he added.

Thomson Reuters Foundation reports:

More than $400 billion worth of goods likely to be made by forced labor enter the U.S. market each year, said Annick Febrey, director of government relations with the Human Trafficking Institute, which advocates to end modern slavery.

“Child labor and forced labor are abhorrent practices that run counter to American values,” Martha Newton, deputy undersecretary of the Department of Labor’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in emailed comments.

She said the Department of Labor’s change in tone echoed President Donald Trump’s ‘America First’ agenda on international trade issues and could mean a more sustained effort to block forced labor-made goods from entering the country.

“It’s reflective of the current administration’s trade policies and focus on America First,” Febrey told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Eric Gottwald, legal and policy director for the International Labor Rights Forum in Washington DC, said he was struck by the Department of Labor’s new stance on forced labor being a problem because it puts American workers at a competitive disadvantage.

Historically, US foreign policy has considered goods made using slave labor as a gross violation of human rights.

“The current administration has placed more emphasis on…how American workers shouldn’t have to compete with forced or child laborers,” he said.

It became a crime to import goods made using forced or child labor in 2016 under a law introduced by President Barack Obama.

Chip in and help end modern slavery once and for all.

31
Leave a Reply

avatar
500
9 Comment threads
22 Thread replies
20 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
20 Comment authors
Elizabeth A. CernyRiccardo PuscedduPhilip BellTodd ClayBrian Glennie Recent comment authors
newest oldest most voted
Brian Glennie
Brian Glennie

Are goods and services made by U.S. prisoners who get a $1 a day not considered Slave labor too ?.?…

Alvin Sepert
Alvin Sepert

Sounds good. Your average American doesn’t care about anything beyond North America so framing this as a trade issue affecting American jobs is a master stroke. Who cares about the language, lets stop these people being exploited. OK they may starve and die but hey, the Liberals can feel good so that’s what matters.

Todd Clay
Todd Clay

How can they object when they do the same thing with prisoners! They can’t call out someone else and get caught in their own BS.

Rob Watt
Rob Watt

Well said, Todd. Unfortunately the ‘American buying power’ means that they can always say what they like about ‘what is right’ & ‘what is wrong’, but when push comes to shove it is their wallets that matter more to them than ANYTHING else. This also applies to ALL ‘big businesses’ & ‘organisations’ in ANY country, not just America.

I do not object to profit, I just object to HOW that profit (& how obscenely much) is often made by the powerful at the expense of the powerless.

Todd Clay
Todd Clay

Sometimes I like living in my simplified world but you are correct.

Riccardo Pusceddu
Riccardo Pusceddu

I applaud Trump for thinking more about American workers than non American forced labour. It was just about time to think more about America after decades wasted at thinking more about everyone else but American workers.

Brid óg Norrby
Brid óg Norrby

America has always put American interests first , Trump or no Trump. And I fear they always will.

Riccardo Pusceddu
Riccardo Pusceddu

Sorry but if you think that then You’re either delusional or live in another planet.

Geo
Geo

He’s not delusional or living on another planet. Amerikkka only is considered with there interests and bottom line(profits). If you have an actual reference to when that is not the case then spit it out otherwise keep your comments respectful because you haven’t made any good points and all you’ve been saying is a lot of self centered propaganda. Amerikkka first hurt other nations, that’s a fact. EU, China, Russia… first will lead to WW3 because nobody is willing to be last. Ultimate outcome!

Geo
Geo

Great point! Very true!

Geo
Geo

So you applaud people who pin one worker against another and a system that puts profits over those same workers? The only way you stop slave labor is by uniting all workers together regardless of country. No administration ever put any workers first and this guy is no different. Stop defending this tyrant because he cares about himself and hot to fatten his pockets off the backs of the workers. If it isn’t profitable for himself, then he doesn’t care just like the rest of these capitalist hordes

Riccardo Pusceddu
Riccardo Pusceddu

I applaud Trump for caring primarily for American workers, whom he represents and should therefore be accountable to, and only caring about other workers if caring about the latter doesn’t harm the former. Like in this case.
Unity of all workers worldwide… I wish it were possible but I fear that’ll never happen because people will always be different and there always be workers willing to do jobs that other workers elsewhere won’t be willing to do for the same wages.

Geo
Geo

Not true at all. The corporations keep workers down looking to profit off of their labor next to nothing. The workers work regardless of what kind of job it is. Its the responsibility of the corporation to provide living wages which they don’t leading to labor unrest. From where I’m standing it sounds like you’re for slave labor: “Workers willing to do jobs that others workers elsewhere won’t” is a cop out plain and simple and the machine has been using that excuse for years.

Riccardo Pusceddu
Riccardo Pusceddu

That’s not at all my position. I’m for workers to fight for their rights but I’m for restricting the trade of goods and services from those countries where workers do not fight for their rights hard enough, namely third world countries or countries which produce goods by polluting non only their country but the rest of the planet too.

David Bartholome

Riccardo, it’s possible to think about American workers AND to condemn the use of child and slave labor. It’s not either/or.

Riccardo Pusceddu
Riccardo Pusceddu

Yes, indeed but my point is that if it weren’t then it’s right to prioritise American workers.

Philip Bell
Philip Bell

I live and work in Australia – America is but a minor part of the world, population -wise, and its hegemony is coming to an end. So Yankees, start acknowledging other people’s rights to liberty and the pursuit of happiness, not just your own.

Philip Bell

Riccardo Pusceddu
Riccardo Pusceddu

I’m not a Yankee, I’m just an Italian living in UK.

Joe Sanders
Joe Sanders

Do we have lAWS TO STOP IMPORT OF CHILD OR SLAVE MADE PRODUCTS?

Myron Smith
Myron Smith

Agree Laws to stop Import of Child and Slave made products is better for USA! Join the discussion…

Elizabeth A. Cerny
Elizabeth A. Cerny

Yes, passed in 2016, under Obama, according to the article.