Xinjiang region is responsible for producing around 84% of China’s total cotton production. The UN and Human Rights experts say that Uighur and many ethnic minority groups are held forcefully in Chinese detention camps and recruited for forced labor in these cotton mills. China denies these allegations stating that the people are trained and given a job instead to help them blend into the society.
According to a report by the Wall Street Journal focusing on Huafu Fashion mill workers in Aksu, Xinjiang, brands like Adidas, H&M, and Gap are at the end of supply chain of cotton products sourced from Xinjiang. Adidas has already ordered an investigation of the ‘forced labor’ claims. Adidas said in a statement to BBC, “While we do not have a contractual relationship with Huafu Fashion Co., or any direct leverage with this business entity or its subsidiary, we are currently investigating these claims. We advised our material suppliers to place no orders with Huafu until we have completed those investigations.” Brands like Target Australia recently declared to put an end to buying cotton sourced from Xinjiang.
Industry experts state that majority of cotton produced in Xinjiang is not shipped directly to the US, but to other regions or countries to turn them into a finished product. China being one of the largest cotton producers and garment exporters, approximately one in every three garments is sourced from China. As more and more reports on ‘forced labor’ or ‘prison labor’ are emerging, a risk-analysis firm Verisk Maplecroft has issued a warning, “The likelihood of more companies being swept into controversy over the use of forced and child labor in Xinjiang increases.”
Tags : Cotton , Mills ,