China has long persecuted individuals in their Xinjiang region, mostly Uyghurs and Turkic Muslims. Specifically, the Chinese government has a long history of forcing Uyghurs and Turkic Muslims to do manual labor. These human rights violations prompted President Biden to sign the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA) into law late last year. On June 21, 2022, the UFLPA went into effect, blocking the importation of goods made from forced labor in the Xinjiang region of China. The law has four main functions. It employs both an enforcement strategy and a diplomatic strategy, it applies a presumption that all goods from the Xinjiang region are barred, and it has required sanctions. Although the United States had previously restricted imports from the Xinjiang region under the Trump administration, this is the furthest step forward the US government has taken to eliminate imports from the region all together.
Corporate compliance professionals will often define compliance as “doing the right thing.” Indeed, both compliance professionals and scholars agree that ethics are an important aspect of effective compliance programs. This is particularly true when it comes to compliance with forced labor regulations. Using forced labor can be appealing to companies seeking to reduce their operating costs and increase profits. However, in the face of a toxic business culture that values maximizing profits, compliance professionals must convince their colleagues that forced labor is not worth the savings in operating costs.