No. 60: Threatening Ill-Gotten Gains: Analyzing the Effectiveness of a Forced Labor Import Ban in the European Union


  • Josh LaFianza
Publish Date:
May 26, 2022
Publication Title:
European Union [EU] Law Working Papers
Stanford Law School
Working Paper
  • Josh LaFianza, Threatening Ill-Gotten Gains: Analyzing the Effectiveness of a Forced Labor Import Ban in the European Union, EU Law Working Papers No. 60, Stanford-Vienna Transatlantic Technology Law Forum (2022).
Related Organization(s):


Increased globalization, interconnected markets, and complex supply chains have produced unprecedented economic gains for multinational corporations. This economic boon has often come with a hidden human cost in the form of forced labor. Such immoral business practices can infect a company’s output at any point in its supply chain. Without adequate government regulation, these cycles of exploitation and abuse will continue to harm millions of people around the world. The good news is that several countries have taken the affirmative step towards curbing forced labor abuses by implementing forced labor import bans—cutting human rights abusers off from their lucrative domestic markets and encouraging companies to take a closer look at their own supply chains. The European Union is not yet among these countries. In 2021, the European Parliament called for a forced labor import ban to be implemented, but, as of the writing of this paper, this call remains unanswered. This paper argues that a forced labor import ban is a necessary component of any human rights oriented trade policy and that, as a major import market and human rights leader, the EU should implement such a ban. In laying out the case for a forced labor import ban, this paper addresses current forced labor estimates and scholarship on this kind of policy intervention, outlines the EU’s legal basis for implementing a ban, discusses the current policy landscape around the world, and considers how the EU can build upon existing models to address global forced labor abuses.