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Closing the Legal Loophole for Slavery in U.S. Supply Chains

Created on Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Slavery Legislation Blog_Eleanor Partridge

Photo credit: Eleanor Partridge

In February, President Obama signed the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 (H.R. 644) – a crucial step towards preventing modern slavery in global supply chains. The amendment closed the loophole in the Tariff Act of 1930, which previously did not bar products made abroad by convict, forced, or indentured labor if American domestic production did not meet demand. While plans for enforcing the act have yet to be announced, the mere signing of the act places seafood companies in a different regulatory environment.

The Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 is the most recent step in a series of actions from U.S. and foreign government, federal agencies, and international trade unions to protect the marine environment and human rights in the seafood industry. Other actions include the ratification of the Port State Measures Agreement which allows officials to prohibit foreign vessels suspected of illegal fishing from receiving port services and access, and NOAA’s seafood traceability program, which will require seafood importers to document the supply chains of certain species from catch to arrival in the U.S.

FishWise has drafted a briefing document on this issue, that you can view here. The briefing summarizes the Act and explains why it is important to seafood companies.

For more information on traceability and human rights in seafood supply chains, please refer to the FishWise page on that topic. Our human rights resources page also offers access to informative reports, guidelines, blogs, meeting summaries, and other resources. FishWise will continue to update these pages to reflect the latest services and resources available.