Fashion retailers investigated over alleged links to forced labor in China

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In recent years, Chinese authorities have used coercive labor programs and mass internment camps to strive to turn up to a million Uyghurs, Kazakhs and various largely Muslim minorities into obedient Party model employees. Communist. Camp inmates are forced to undergo professional supervision, and a few go on to work in manufacturing units with little or no pay.

In the final months of his tenure, President Donald J. Trump added increasingly restrictive measures against Xinjiang, as well as sanctions against dozens of companies doing business there and a ban on Xinjiang. ‘import cotton from the region, citing the widespread use of forced labor. Activists have worked to raise awareness of the scenario, with Raphael Glucksmann, a member of the European Parliament who has created social media campaigns and recruited celebrities to help Uyghurs in the West.

“This is the very beginning of a long process, but it shows multinationals that the page on impunity is turning,” Glucksmann said following information from the investigation this week. “I hope that with the specter of this lawsuit, we will be taken even more seriously by the big brands, who will see forced labor not only as an image blow, but potentially also as a real financial blow and criminal as well. “

Legal inquiries in France can take months or even years, with many twists and turns that do not always lead to a trial.

Mr. Bourdon said it remains to be seen what penalties could be imposed on manufacturers if they were found and held responsible.

“Whether it’s compensation, fines or whatever, it’s up to the judge to decide,” he said.


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