Recent health concerns and public safety measures have driven many in Florida, nationwide and around the world to employ personal protection products such as gloves and masks. Manufacturers have capitalized on this growing demand, adding these products to their production orders and shipping them worldwide. Of course, when these products, especially those used for medical purposes, arrive from other countries to the United States, they are subject to government standards and customs seizure if they fail to meet these standards.
Last year, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection issued a “Withhold Release Order,” suspending importation of disposable gloves manufactured by the Top Glove Corporation in Malaysia. Such orders arise from reasonable suspicion, but not necessarily proof, that the company is in violation of the United States policy against forced labor. Following a lengthy investigation, CBP investigators report they can now conclude that Top Glove uses the following methods in its production process:
- Excessive overtime
- Abusive working conditions
- Poor living conditions
- Debt slavery
- Confiscation of identity documentation
As a result, the CBP instructed agents at all ports of entry across the United States to seize any disposable gloves imported from Top Glove in Malaysia. Federal law bans any goods imported to the United States that have been produced or manufactured through slave labor, child labor, convict labor or any other forms of forced labor. Once the CBP has issued a Withhold Release Order, against a company, the importer must then prove the allegations are false or face a customs seizure order.