The Department of Labor's Bureau of International Labor Affairs ("ILAB") published in the Federal Register on October 27, 2015 an invitation for companies to submit information on child labor and forced labor in certain foreign countries.1 This information will be used to prepare new reports for Congress that will be published in 2016 in accordance with the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act ("TVPRA"), Executive Order 13126, and the Trade and Development Act of 2000 ("TDA"). These reports are published regularly to raise public awareness and promote efforts to combat child and forced labor, as well as provide additional resources for U.S. companies to use in performing their internal risk assessments and due diligence on labor rights in their supply chains. Comments should be submitted no later than January 4, 2016.
By way of background, the TVPRA2 requires the Department of Labor to collect data and issue to Congress every two years a list of goods that the ILAB has reason to believe are being produced by child labor or forced labor in violation of international standards and their respective countries. The first TVPRA List was published on September 30, 2009, and the ILAB has since issued updates in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013. The most recent report, which was published on December 1, 2014, identified a total of 136 products from 74 countries. The 2014 report identifies items involving child and forced labor that fall within the scope of the following categories:
Agriculture: 59 items involving child labor and 27 items involving forced labor (e.g., cotton, sugarcane, tobacco, coffee, cocoa, cattle, fish and rice)
Manufacturing: 38 items involving child labor and 15 items involving forced labor (e.g., bricks, garments, carpets and fireworks)
Mining/Quarrying: 28 items involving child labor and 12 items involving forced labor (e.g., gold, coal and diamonds)
Eleven new products involving child labor were added to the 2014 list, including:
- Garments from Bangladesh
- Alcoholic beverages, meat, textile and timber from Cambodia
- Cotton and sugarcane from India
- Fish from Kenya
- Vanilla from Madagascar
- Electronics and palm oil from Malaysia
- Fish from Yemen
The report emphasizes that a country's absence from the list should not be taken to mean that child or forced labor is not occurring there. Rather, there are certain countries for which adequate research has not yet been performed (e.g., Algeria, Gabon, Maldives, South Africa, Togo, Venezuela, Guyana, Jamaica, Morocco, Swaziland, and Tunisia), as well as governments that restrict the collection of data relating to child and forced labor (e.g., Burma, China, Iran, North Korea, and Uzbekistan). In addition, the TVPRA List does not name specific companies in a given country and it is possible that some firms are producing listed goods in compliance with local law and international labor standards.
Executive Order 13126 (Prohibition of Acquisition of Products Produced by Forced and Indenture Child Labor) was issued on June 6, 1999 and requires the Labor Department, State Department and Department of Homeland Security to publish a list of items for which they have reason to believe are mined, produced, or manufactured by forced or indentured child labor (the "EO List"). EO 13126 also prohibits the manufacture or importation of such items, and requires federal contractors supplying these products to certify that they have made a good faith effort to determine whether forced or child labor was used to produce the items being sold to the U.S. Government. The most recent EO List was published on December 1, 2014, and identified the following countries and items:
- Bricks from Afghanistan
- Garments from Argentina
- Dried fish from Bangladesh
- Cotton from Benin
- Brazil nuts, chestnuts and sugarcane from Bolivia
- Gold and cotton from Burkina Faso
- Bamboo, beans, sugarcane, bricks, teak, rice and rubber from Burma
- Bricks, cotton, electronics and toys from China
- Cocoa from Colombia
- Cocoa and coffee from Cote d'Ivoire
- Cassiterite, gold, tungsten ore and tantalum from the Democratic Republic of Congo
- Textiles from Ethiopia
- Fish from Ghana
- Cottonseed, garments, rick, stones, embellished textiles and bricks from India
- Tobacco and Rice from Malawi
- Bricks, carpets, stones and embellished textiles from Nepal
- Cocoa, granite and gravel from Nigeria
- Bricks, coal and carpet from Pakistan
- Diamonds from Sierra Leone
- Shrimp and garments from Thailand
- Cattle from South Sudan
- Cotton from Tajikistan
- Cotton from Uzbekistan
- Garments from Vietnam
The Trade and Development Act of 20003 established new eligibility requirements that a country must satisfy before it may receive trade benefits under the Generalized System of Preferences ("GSP"), Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act ("CBTPA"), Africa Growth and Opportunity Act ("AGOA"), and the Andean Trade Preference Act/Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act ("ATPA/ATDPEA"). In order to receive benefits under these preferential trade programs, beneficiary countries must commit to eliminate the worst forms of child labor as defined in section 507(6) of the Trade Act of 1974. The Labor Department is also required to publish an annual report on the worst forms of child labor ("TDA Report"). The most recent TDA report, issued on September 30, 2015, assessed the efforts of 140 countries to reduce child labor in their territories and reported whether countries have made significant, moderate, minimal, or no advancement.
As noted above, the ILAB's October 27th Federal Register notice asks companies to comment and provide information on the TVPRA List,4 the EO List,5 and the TDA Report.6 The ILAB will utilize the information received to maintain and update these reports for publication in 2016, update the findings and suggestions for government action for beneficiary countries reviewed in the TDA Report as well as to assess each country's individual advancement toward eliminating child and forced labor.
 The Department of Labor defines child labor as all work performed by children under the age of fifteen. Forced labor is defined as all work or service which is exacted from any person under the menace of any penalty of its nonperformance and for which the worker does not offer himself/herself voluntarily – by force, fraud, coercion, trick, abuse or threatened abuse of the worker or other persons.
 See Section 105(b)(1) of the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2005, Pub. L. 109-164.
 See the Trade and Development Act of 2000, Pub. L. 106-200.
Melissa Proctor is a Shareholder with Polsinelli, P.C. With significant experience in the customs laws and regulations, export controls, economic sanctions, and international trade, Melissa is committed to understanding companies' operations and providing assistance geared toward helping them reach their specific business and operational goals. She may be reached at (602) 650-2002 or via e-mail at email@example.com.