Imports from three companies accused of using forced labor from North Korea have been barred from the United States, reports the Wall Street Journal.
Authorities from the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol said there’s evidence that Jingde Trading Ltd., Rixin Foods Ltd. and Zhejiang Sunrise Garment Group Co. are using labor from North Korea, which Customs assumes to be slave labor unless proven otherwise.
“North Korea’s forced labor system operates both domestically and internationally and supports the North Korean Government’s weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs, and it is also a major human rights violation,” AnnMarie R. Highsmith of Customs said in a statement. “Legally and morally, we cannot allow these goods into our commerce.”
Last year, President Biden signed a similar bill banning imports from China’s Xinjiang region also because of forced labor, reports The Hill. The law banning imports using North Korean forced labor passed in 2017.
Customs did not provide details of what the 3 companies did and the companies did not reply to requests for comment.
A 2018 U.S. report estimated that the North Korean government takes 70-90 percent of earnings from its workers.
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Forced labor should not be acceptable under any circumstances or any country. But as usual, only pointing the finger to Asian countries continue to perpetuate Asia (and Asian Americans by extension) as the evil villain. Shouldn’t the US start with cleaning up its own house first?
The 13th Amendment bans slavery but includes a gaping loophole “except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted”.
Today, there are prisons in the USA that legally use (or rent out) convicted prisoners as slave labor. They get pennies on the dollar for their work. Some are not paid at all. Those who refuse to work could be denied visitors, denied phone calls, put in solitary, or even denied parole. There are reports of racial disparities of which race gets which types of work and pay.
Why are goods and services through US slave labor knowingly allowed “into our commerce”? When will the USA “legally and morally” ban its own slave labor practices and its own human rights violations?