After decades-long loophole, US bans imports made by slave labor
President Barack Obama signed a law on Wednesday banning the import of goods produced by slave labor. The law was apart of a larger trade enforcement bill presented by Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) last year. The bill was created to strengthen trade enforcement efforts and to streamline legal trade in goods.
Because of a loophole in the Tariff Act of 1930, which allowed Customs and Border Protection to seize shipments where slave labor was suspected, goods produced by forced labor were still being imported into the U.S. because of "consumptive demand." This meant that when goods were in demand in the U.S., imports were allowed no matter how they were produced.
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"This law slams shut an unconscionable and archaic loophole that forced America to accept products made by children or slave labor," said Sen. Ron Wyden.
When the law goes into effect, items such as diamonds produced by child and forced labor in Angola, cotton produced in Benin, toys produced in China, and many more products will no longer be imported into the U.S.
The U.S. Department of Labor's 2014 List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor details more than 350 goods produced by child and forced labor. The report also reveals that criminals responsible for the slave labor market earn an estimated $150 billion per year in illegal profits.
The law that will ban these goods goes into effect in March.
Related: Images of child labor and slavery around the world:
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