‘They Will Be Held Accountable’: Sen. Josh Hawley’s New Bill Would Make Companies Report Using ‘Slave Labor’

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Republican Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri said Monday he plans to introduce a bill that will hold U.S. companies accountable for using forced labor, specifically noting instances of abuse in China.

The Slave-Free Business Certification Act would obligate CEOs to audit, report, and certify their company’s supply chains do not use forced labor domestically or abroad, according to a Monday press statement from Hawley.

“If these reports from anti-trafficking advocates, anti-slavery advocates are wrong, then the companies will have a chance to set the record straight,” Hawley told Axios. (RELATED: ‘We Are Too Reliant On China’: Cotton, Hawley Call On US To Regain Independence From Communist Regime)

“But they will be held accountable,” Hawley added.

“American companies like @NBA and @Nike and others should not be profiting off forced, slave labor,” Hawley said in a Twitter post Monday.

“I am introducing legislation to require multinationals to certify that they don’t use slave labor-or face penalties,” Hawley added.

The proposal also outlines that if a company fails to obey the bill, the Labor Secretary may assess up to $100 million in civil damages and $500 million in punitive damages, according to Axios. If any company violates the bill, the Labor secretary can request a restraining order, an injunction, or “other appropriate order” from a district court against the company, Hawley told Axios.

Hawley previously noted the National Basketball Association (NBA) failed to allow references to human rights in China or Hong Kong in their list of pre-approved slogans for athlete protests in a letter to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. Hawley has also called for an investigation into Chinese-owned TikTok for monitoring its users and collecting data.

Hawley told Axios he plans to challenge celebrities for endorsing products made from forced labor, Axios reported.

“I would hope that anybody who is profiting on that would want to push companies to certify that they’re not benefiting from slave labor,” Hawley said.

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