Should Supply-Demand Concerns Ever Trump Child Labor and Slave Issues?

Consumerism, Consumtive Demands, and Human Rights |

As I posted on the Pastry Sampler blog regarding the provision to the The Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 that would end the loophole for allowing goods to come into the U.S. that were produced by child or slave labor, I wondered how the law could have been in place in the first place.

It’s called a special provision, and while other amendments have been enacted to change the wording of it, the single loophole was still in place. No one wants a product made with slave or child labor, but if a country cannot meet ‘consumptive demands’ for its people – is it ok? It obviously is not which is why this is so important. Consumerism should never be a deciding factor when the question of child labor and human trafficking is involved.

Section 1307 of the Tariff Act of 1930 – Special Provisions

The section below is from current public law – within the Code of Federal Regulations, which essentially, gives the ok for the U.S. to do this. The new trade act closes it.

§1307. Convict-made goods; importation prohibited

All goods, wares, articles, and merchandise mined, produced, or manufactured wholly or in part in any foreign country by convict labor or/and forced labor or/and indentured labor under penal sanctions shall not be entitled to entry at any of the ports of the United States, and the importation thereof is hereby prohibited, and the Secretary of the Treasury is authorized and directed to prescribe such regulations as may be necessary for the enforcement of this provision. The provisions of this section relating to goods, wares, articles, and merchandise mined, produced, or manufactured by forced labor or/and indentured labor, shall take effect on January 1, 1932; but in no case shall such provisions be applicable to goods, wares, articles, or merchandise so mined, produced, or manufactured which are not mined, produced, or manufactured in such quantities in the United States as to meet the consumptive demands of the United States.

“Forced labor”, as herein used, shall mean all work or service which is exacted from any person under the menace of any penalty for its nonperformance and for which the worker does not offer himself voluntarily. For purposes of this section, the term “forced labor or/and indentured labor” includes forced or indentured child labor.

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