US Bans Fifth Malaysian Firm Imports Over Alleged Forced Labor

Customs authorities in the United States banned disposable gloves made by Malaysia’s Smart Glove, making it the fifth company from Malaysia to be flagged for alleged forced labor in the past 15 months.

The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issued a Withhold Release Order, prohibiting imports from a group of companies under Smart Glove. 

The agency said that they have found evidence that the companies’ facilities “utilize forced labor” and identified seven indicators set out by the International Labor Organization (ILO).

The ILO indicators of forced labor include excessive hours, debt bondage, physical and sexual violence, abusive working and living conditions — CBP did not specify, however, which were found under the Malaysian firms.

“In the past two years, CBP has set an international standard for ensuring that goods made with forced labor do not enter the U.S. commerce,” said Troy Miller, CBP Acting Commissioner.

Malaysian factories have come into increased scrutiny over unfair practices toward their employees. Other glove makers, Supermax Corp. and Top Glove, and palm oil producers, Sime Darby Plantation and FGV Holdings, were also barred by the U.S. in the past few months over similar allegations.

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