ATEST Supports Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act

June 10, 2021

The Honorable Bob Menendez
Senate Foreign Relations Committee
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable James Risch
Ranking Member
Senate Foreign Relations Committee
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Chairman Menendez and Ranking Member Risch:

The Alliance to End Slavery & Trafficking (ATEST) is writing to express our support for S. 65, the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, and asks that it be brought up for a vote in the next Senate Foreign Relations Committee business meeting. This bipartisan legislation takes important steps to ensure the United States does not import goods made by forced labor from the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in China and holds accountable bad actors engaged in the unconscionable human rights abuses being perpetuated against Uyghurs and a number of other persecuted groups. We appreciate the willingness by the bill’s authors to work with civil society organizations to address concerns in the legislation as originally introduced, and we ask the committee to support a manager’s amendment incorporating the agreed upon changes.

ATEST is a U.S.-based coalition that advocates for solutions to prevent and end all forms of human trafficking and forced labor around the world. We promote lasting solutions to prevent forced labor and sex trafficking, hold perpetrators accountable, ensure justice for victims, and empower survivors with tools for recovery. Our collective experience implementing programs at home and abroad gives us an unparalleled breadth and depth of expertise.

We remain horrified by the brutal oppression of Uyghurs and other persecuted groups in Xinjiang by the Chinese government. As numerous reports by government agencies, journalists, researchers, and civil society organizations have detailed, Uyghurs and other persecuted groups in Xinjiang have been subjected to forced labor, extrajudicial mass internment, torture, and other terrible human rights abuses. S. 65 rightly creates a rebuttable presumption that, given the systematic use of forced labor in Xinjiang, all goods from that area are prohibited entrance into the United States under Section 307 of the Tariff Act, which bans imports into the United States of goods made wholly or in part by forced labor. The bill also requires targeted sanctions on foreign persons determined to be responsible for serious human rights abuses in connection with forced labor in Xinjiang.

While forced labor is a serious global problem that must be addressed around the world, its use against Uyghurs and the other persecuted groups in Xinjiang has been particularly reprehensible. The United States must continue taking robust action to address these horrific human rights abuses, and the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act takes important steps to combat forced labor in Xinjiang. We ask your support for swift passage of S. 65 as amended in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

ATEST (Alliance to End Slavery & Trafficking)

ATEST member organizations include Coalition to Abolish Slavery & Trafficking (CAST), Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), Free the Slaves, HEAL Trafficking, Human Trafficking Institute, Humanity United Action (HUA), McCain Institute for International Leadership, National Network for Youth (NN4Y), Polaris, Safe Horizon, Solidarity Center, T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, United Way Worldwide, Verité and Vital Voices Global Partnership.

ATEST Co-chairs:
Anita Teekah, [email protected]
Terry FitzPatrick: [email protected]