Uighur People and Slave Labor Through China Suppliers

Hi Everyone- More and more in the news are articles about the Uighur people, a Muslim religious group of people in Xinjiang, China who have been put into concentration work camps by the Chinese government under the extreme surveillance state. It is the largest mass internment of an ethnic-religious minority group since the Holocaust.

There are many articles online regarding this, and the companies that are currently using suppliers that use Uighur slave labor, including Nike, Sketchers, H&M, Calvin Klein, the list goes on.

Cotton suppliers in the Xinjiang region including Esquel, Huafu, Lu Thai Textile Co., Jinsheng Group (parent company of Litai Textiles/Xingshi), Youngor Group, and Shandong Ruyi Technology Group Co, all are using this forced labor. If you would like to read more about the crimes, please see the BusinessInsider or Vox articles on this. I will spare some of the horrific details for this forum.

For my work in apparel production, this is vastly important. Does anyone have any advise for the best way to bring this up at my company? This is a human rights crisis that we can not partake in, it is against all of our values.

The Retail Industry Leaders Association has advised to stop sourcing cotton, yarn, textiles, and finished products from the Uyghur Region and cut ties with companies implicated in forced labour. In a perfect world, the “powers that be” would see this as a no brainer, but our industry in complicated right now. Any ideas how to best bring this up?


The images are disturbing. Eerily similar to those of the Nazis loading Jews in trains…


This is chilling. Horrifying. Good that you shared this. Some sourcing VPs will take the moral route but I think the only way to make a case overall is to bring up the issue of ‘bad press’. When company owners/ management sees this as an issue that will hurt them with the consumer they will not work with these factories.


Good point, unfortunately that may be the best way to get the point across

Is this really such a big deal? Why only single out China? China is only doing what the western nations have been doing for decades. The US has this attitude I AM HOLIER THAN THOU arrogant. What about the US, never has a concentration camp? Just look at detention at the border in the south, families are spilt apart, were is the human rights bs? A prison in Cuba and Japanese during WW2, sure all in the name of national security or national interest. Seems like if the US does it it’s ok, but if someone else does it, the US loves to point her finger at someone else because blame others first makes the US looks good on the outside because the US is such a human rights champion, Whenever the US points her fingers at someone else, chances are 100% the US is doing the exactly the same thing behind closing doors. In fact, the US is the worst moral hazard on earth not that the US has any moral. The US is the worst human rights violators just look at the Middle East (except Israel since Israel think they are white but true Jews aren’t white) how the US is killing innocent civilians just because some governments/cultures don’t bow down before the US or live the values of the US. If the US cares so much about slave work or human rights, how about countries that employee child labor, or child soldiers. Would a woman buys Victoria’s Secret products that made by the US prisoners and working conditions aren’t any better than the Uighur minority in China. How about Saudi Arabia? They abuse human rights and women don’t have rights and most 9/11 terrorists were from the country but because they buy billions of weapons of wars from the US and they have cheap oil so it’s OK to look the other way.Look at the racial tension in the US, the US should be looking into mirror and I know she is blind she can’t see. China learned form western countries, can’t really blame them. Please don’t compare this with some bs Holocaust. China isn’t killing 6 millions Uighur minorities. If you don’t want to source from China that’s your choice but most of places have their own issues, you can source in the US or Europe sure more expensive but you are concern with human rights with all the unethical matters, its every where. I don’t know what values you are talking about but as far as I can see the only values the US has are money and profit at any cost.

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You’re absolutely right that the US is not innocent in this. The ICE immigrant camps along the border are horrifying and are not excusable. But that is not what this is about. This is about our industry. This is about keeping our industry accountable.

The truth is the Apparel Industry exploits workers in China, Indonesia, South America, Bangladesh and countless others. The question here, is how can we as the workforce in the US keep our companies accountable and help the industry as a whole make more ethical decisions.

Personal feelings aside, this is about choosing how our companies react to those truths. Can we continue to turn a blind eye? Or can we all make small changes to a more ethical future for the apparel industry?


I get your point and I am sure that you dig deep enough, child labor, I am sure also exist here in the states, perhaps they are just not being reported. What can fashion industry do? I don’t know? it’s unfortunate that there are places that children are being placed to work instead of going to school make friends and become productive citizens of societies. I think we also need to ask why those countries are so poor to the point that their citizens would place their kids to work, or even soldiers? I think it’s goes deeper than that. Why some Africa countries especially in Arab regions that they are so rich? Because of oil and why some countries are so poor? and having civil wars for decades.

Take Africa continent for example, this is one of the richest continents on earth, you can find every gem stones and nuclear weapon materials and yet so many nations are poor, why? Colonism ever since the western nations especially UK and France they go in there started slave trading and kill and steal and rape the resources from the natives and some natives are too naive to think the western nations are there for the benefits of the natives. UK and France were the biggest imperial empires in Africa and they are the ones who divided Africa and drew its borders. What’s happening today can be traced back hundred of years back to the roots. Western nation made sure that the poor countries stay poor, just look at the US, government makes sure that the poor stay poor all this capitalism they are all illusions. Capitalism only works for veryfew.

What China is doing isn’t right, of course, whether it’s place the Uighur population all in one place or deport many Africans from China during the height of coronavirus break out in China, use them as escapegoat, can fashion as industry do anything about it? I don’t know…against foreign governments? I doubt it Same can be said with Europe, fashion industry in Europe isn’t what it appears to be, Sure , you can place a piece of paper in one’s company stating that we don’t abuse any animals making this fur, you know, all appear to be very ethical on the surface but opposite behind closing doors. There are no easy answers. You probably can get rid of some of factories that use forced slave labor but there will be more to replace it. The governments have to enforce labor in their own countries. Fashion industry can’t dictate what other governments can or cannot do. Governments must have standard labor law in their countries and establish fair wage, labor standard regulations and be transparent and follow it, but unfortunately, we aren’t there yet and perhaps will never accomplish it

I cannot believe someone is actually defending the Communist Chinese Party and their treatment of the Uighurs after seeing the concentration camps article listed above. Unreal, repugnant, shameful.


I recently watched a documentary about this, and it’s awful. Yes, the industry today in the US still has plenty of sweatshops, sweatshops in which people are earning below minimum wage and risking their lives (or even dying) to make masks for customers.

This is not what this thread is about. It’s about sourcing responsibly in China, which is never easy to do. Yes, sourcing costs have risen in China, and in many factories, wages have also. But to enslave and “reeducate” millions of people, to force them not to practice their religion, that is something many brands don’t want to endorse or be caught endorsing.

EVEN PATAGONIA has discovered Ughur slaves working in the factories they use. We can’t just throw our arms up and run in circles complaining about how there’s injustice everywhere. We need to address it as it comes up, particularly as it applies to the supply chains we use. Patagonia has stopped working with those factories, and in my opinion, should never have used Chinese factories in the first place, as the country has a long record of flagrant human rights abuses and lies.

Thanks to all manner of traceability now available, there is no better time than now to take full advantage of these tools to monitor and improve your supply chain, not just jump factories and countries.


I have personally seen that smaller wholesalers take it more seriously when the companies they sell to force it up on them. Unfortunately, bad press only does so much… I think we all know it’s when the bottom line is in peril that people start to perk up and make changes. I’d like to think that all levels of the industry would take this seriously to do something about it instead of just murmur about it among themselves and then go back to business as usual.

@doom_dog are you in a position where you could call out a customer’s position regarding this particular issue to your team?

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not really. i feel like im in a position where I am “lucky to be working right now” and that i am worried to rock the boat.

at the same time i feel like i am compromising my values


I completely understand. What I do is buddy up to my sales people and my PD/ Merch partners (on your side) and see what I can find out what the customer wants and casually bring it up as important to the customer in front of the boss…often… It’s not 100% a way to affect change, but it does help to start steer things in a different direction.


Yes. You seem to think right.

do you believe every anti-China propaganda you watch on TV? If there was genocide, where are the graves? There are Uyghurs are fighting in Syria along side of ISIS, 20000 of them, China wants to make sure they won’t be coming back to cause trouble. Why is when the US round-up so-called suspected fake terrorists it’s fighting terrorist and national security concern but when CHina is fighting Muslim extremists is human rights violations. how does that work?
Those Uyghers are being educated in Mandarin and occupation training otherwise, they won’t be able to get a job as Mandarin is the primary language in China so also to prevent them from radicalized, I know there is a lot of truth that western media won’t report because they want to rating and the US is at last legs so the only way to do is to spread more anti-China propaganda and spread lies. It doesn’t matter if the rumor is true or not as long as the sheep-like you believe it’s true. The US won’t go to nuke clear war with China even though the US would love to but China also has nukes and all you need is 50 nukes can destroy the civilization as we know it.