Prison labor is use of labor by criminals or political prisoners. China and North Korea use substantial prison labor, North Korea in a system of prison camps where opponents of the regime are imprisoned, together with their families for life at hard labor. Coal mining, forestry, and farming are typical enterprises. China imprisons large numbers of political undesirables including those who practice proscribed religions such as Falun Gong. In October, 2012 a hand-written letter from a Falun Gong prisoner was discovered in a box of Halloween decorations purchased from a K-Mart in Portland, Oregon detailing allegations of long hours of labor in the prison where the decorations were made, unit 8, department 2 of the Masanjia Labor Camp in Shenyang, China. Pay was less than $2 a month for 15 hour days. K-Mart is owned by Sears Holdings which has a "Global Compliance Program." intended to prevent such incidents.
Importing product of forced labor into the United States is forbidden by Title 19, section 1307 of U.S. Code:
19 USC § 1307 - Convict-made goods; importation prohibited
Current through Pub. L. 112-208. (See Public Laws for the current Congress.)
All goods, wares, articles, and merchandise mined, produced, or manufactured wholly or in part in any foreign country by convict labor or/and forced labor or/and indentured labor under penal sanctions shall not be entitled to entry at any of the ports of the United States, and the importation thereof is hereby prohibited, and the Secretary of the Treasury is authorized and directed to prescribe such regulations as may be necessary for the enforcement of this provision. The provisions of this section relating to goods, wares, articles, and merchandise mined, produced, or manufactured by forced labor or/and indentured labor, shall take effect on January 1, 1932; but in no case shall such provisions be applicable to goods, wares, articles, or merchandise so mined, produced, or manufactured which are not mined, produced, or manufactured in such quantities in the United States as to meet the consumptive demands of the United States.
“Forced labor”, as herein used, shall mean all work or service which is exacted from any person under the menace of any penalty for its nonperformance and for which the worker does not offer himself voluntarily. For purposes of this section, the term “forced labor or/and indentured labor” includes forced or indentured child labor.
- "Halloween decorations carry haunting message of forced labor" article in The Oregonian December 23, updated December 25, 2012
- 19 USC § 1307 Legal Information Institute Cornell University