Federal Manager's Daily Report

Los Angeles, CA - Sept 2020: personnel at the Los Angeles/Long Beach Seaport detained a shipment of women’s gloves under a September 2020 Withhold Release Order. The gloves are suspected to have been made with forced labor in China’s Xinjiang region. (CPB photo by Jaime Ruiz)

Customs and Border Protection has devoted increased resources to enforcing prohibitions on importing goods made with forced labor under 2016 changes to law strengthening those prohibitions but a lack of workforce planning and reliable data is hampering that effort, GAO has said.

A report said the CBP formed a forced labor division in 2018 to coordinate those efforts but still “has not assessed and documented the staffing levels or skills needed” for that division.

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“For example, the division suspended some ongoing investigations due to a staff shortage and has plans to expand and train its workforce; however, the division has not assessed the number, type, locations, or specialized skills of positions it needs to achieve programmatic results. Without assessing its workforce needs, the division lacks reasonable assurance that it has the right number of people, with the right skills, in the right places,” it said.

Investigations and civil enforcement actions also have increased “but managers lack complete and consistent data summarizing cases,” it said.

GAO that assessing spending and personnel devoted to enforcing the ban is complicated because numerous other offices of the CBP also are involved, as well as some of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, another subagency of DHS.

Management agreed with GAO’s recommendations to assess workforce needs and improve its case data.

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