July 2 (UPI) -- U.S. Customs and Border Patrol officers seized a 13-ton shipment of products and accessories suspected to be made from human hair.
CBP officers at the Port of New York/Newark on Wednesday detained the shipment worth more than $800,000 that originated in Xinjiang, China.
The order was seized in accordance with a Withhold Release order on hair products manufactured by Lop County Meixin Hair Product Co. Ltd. that instructed ports of entry nationwide to detain such products due to information they were made under potential human rights abuses of forced child labor and imprisonment.
"The production of these goods constitutes a very serious human rights violation and the detention order is intended to send a clear and direct message to all entities seeking to do business with the United States that illicit and inhumane practices will not be tolerated in U.S. supply chains," Executive Assistant Commissioner of the CBP Office of Trade said.
In March, U.S. lawmakers proposed tightening restrictions on goods from Xinjiang, amid reports documenting how Muslim Uyghur and Kazakh minorities have been recruited into forced labor in the autonomous region in northwest China.
Import of goods made under forced labor are prohibited under U.S. law but the bill would make it so that only goods from Xinjiang with "clear and convincing evidence" showing they did not involve forced labor would be permitted to be imported.
"It is absolutely essential that American importers ensure that the integrity of their supply chain meets the humane and ethical standards expected by the American government and by American consumers," said Smith.
The seizure occurred as the Trump administration issued a business advisory warning Americans that they could be exposed to reputational, economic and legal risks if their supply chains are found to be connected to forced labor and other human rights abuses in Xinjiang and throughout the Asian nation.
Last month, President Donald Trump signed a law to punish China over its treatment of its Uyghur citizens amid allegations by former national security adviser John Bolton that he supported their internment camps where some 1 million of the Muslim-minority population have been detained.