Uighurs forced labor

Adidas and Lacoste Cut Ties With Forced Labor Suppliers

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Clothing and sports apparel lines Adidas and Lacoste agreed to cease all activities with their suppliers and subcontractors in China as a response to the labor forced to Muslim people by the Chinese government. 

The cutting of ties

Due to China’s forced detention of the Uighurs, a Muslim minority ethnic group, a new campaign has surfaced. The goal is to pressure fashion brands to drop their ties with factories employing forced labor. 

According to the Australia Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), an estimated 1 to 2 million Uighurs based in Xinjiang province in China were under mass detention. The women were also subject to compulsory sterilizations, birth control, and abortions. 

The ASPI also said in a March 2020 report that the mass detention of the Muslim minority group has spread from Xinjiang to other factories across China. These factories are connected to the supply chain of major multinational western corporations such as Apple, Mercedes-Benz, and fashion brands, like Lacoste, Adidas, Abercrombie & Fitch, H&M, Uniqlo, Tommy Hilfiger, Zara, Victoria’s Secret, to name a few. 

Activism in the fashion scene

Fashion brands have significantly become involved in activism over the years and have taken part in various social causes. Recently, fashion brands aired out their support for the Black Lives Matter movement. 

Last June 27, French clothing company Lacoste agreed to cease all its activities in compliance with the campaign initiated by the European Union Parliament member Raphael Glucksmann. 

Gluckmann’s efforts continue as he is still meeting with other fashion brands with suppliers and subcontractors in China. Determined to put an end to the violation of the Uighurs’ rights, Gluckmann met with Adidas, which then later signed a letter agreeing to the terms of his campaign Gluckmann has spearheaded. 

ASPI reported that Adidas was among the several fashion brands which had a long-term contract with Huafu Top Dyed Melange Yarn Co. Ltd. in Anhui, China. 

According to an Adidas spokesperson, their workplace standards strictly prohibits any form of forced labor, and that it applies to all its companies in their supply chain. 

Lacoste was also reported to have been supplied by the Youngor Textile Holdings, which is manned by Uighur workers from Xinjiang. 

Glucksmann is also discussing the issue with Nike.

ASPI highlighted, however, that many fashion companies and luxury brands manufacturing in China think they are not liable for the forced labor situation in Xinjiang.

However, for human rights activists like Zulhumar Isaac, cessation of activities in Xinjiang is not enough. Isaac, whose parents were detained in camps, said to cut economic and business ties completely, not just because of the single cause that is the forced labor of Uighur, but also because of the Chinese government’s atrocities in Hong Kong. 

Main image from SourcingJournal

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