ATEST Applauds Elimination of 85-Year-Old Loophole that has Allowed Products Made with Forced or Child Labor into the United States

For Release: February 16, 2016

The Senate voted last week to close a loophole in the Tariff Act of 1930, a law that prohibits goods made by forced, child or prison labor from entering the United States unless the United States doesn’t produce enough of those goods to meet consumer demand. This ‘consumptive demand’ exemption was eliminated as part of a larger trade enforcement bill expected to be signed by President Obama. The Alliance to End Slavery and Trafficking (ATEST) has advocated for elimination of this loophole for nearly a decade. Melysa Sperber, director of ATEST, offered this statement:

“No one likes to think that the soccer ball their child plays with, the rug in their living room, or the shirts hanging in their closet might have been made with forced or child labor – but until now, there’s been little to prevent that from happening. We applaud Congress and President Obama for finally closing a loophole that for nearly a century has allowed goods tainted by exploitation into our country, our stores, and our homes. Now, it’s up to our government to enforce the Tariff Act, and to adopt and enforce other measures that hold businesses accountable for ensuring that their supply chains are free of forced and child labor.”



The Alliance to End Slavery and Trafficking is a U.S.-based coalition that advocates for solutions to prevent and end all forms of human trafficking and modern slavery around the world. ATEST member organizations include: Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (CAST), Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), ECPAT-USA, Free the Slaves, Futures Without Violence (FUTURES), International Justice Mission, National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA), National Network for Youth (NN4Y), Polaris, Safe Horizon, Solidarity Center, Verité, and Vital Voices Global Partnership. ATEST is a project of Humanity United.