It seems Top Glove has not resolved much of the issues pertaining to U.S. Customs and Border Protection accusation of using ‘forced labour’ on the worlds largest glove manufacturer. In the latest seizure, the officers assigned to the Port of Kansas City Missouri seized 4.68 million latex gloves in a shipment that originated in Malaysia and was destined to Kansas City.
CBP personnel seized the shipment due to information indicating that the gloves were made by forced labor, a form of modern slavery. Directive were given to all U.S. ports of entry to begin seizing disposable gloves produced in Malaysia by Top Glove Corporation Bhd. The shipment in Kansas City was seized after an inspection by CBP officers revealed that the gloves were produced in Malaysia by a subsidiary of Top Glove. The estimated value of the shipment was $690,000.
“Considering this seizure took place in the heartland of America, it goes to show that imports produced by forced labor affect everyone nationwide,” said Steven Ellis, Port Director-Kansas City. “CBP will not tolerate forced labor in U.S. supply chains.”
The statement issued by CBP added that 25 million people suffer under conditions of forced labor around the world. Imports made by forced labor hurt vulnerable workers, threaten American jobs and businesses, and subject unsuspecting American consumers to making unethical purchases.
Top Glove has already been given notice to improve their practices and was issued a forced labour finding in March, this was based on evidence of multiple forced labour indicators in the manufacturers production process, including debt bondage where workers had to pay off their travel fees, excessive overtime, abusive working and living conditions and retention of identity documents. However, the group did recently take up media space in a local English daily claiming things have improved substantially in the factories and have been consulting the US Customs on resolving the issues.
Under the US Federal statute it is prohibits the importation of merchandise mined, manufactured, or produced, wholly or in part, by convict labor, forced labor, and/or indentured labor, including forced or indentured child labor. Customs will seize shipments subject to findings unless the importer can prove that the merchandise was not produced with forced labor.
On the shipment which was sent directly from Malaysian ports, its surprising on why Top Glove continues to dispatch rubber gloves to US despite not getting the approvals or receiving consent from the US Customs. News reports and statements issued by the US Federal Government gets picked up by international media and leaves a dim prospect for the company in future dealings.