A report by the Tech Transparency Project said Amazon’s business is deeply intertwined with China and its suppliers are linked to forced labor in China’s Xinjiang region.
The research group, which is led by the nonprofit Campaign for Accountability and is often critical of big tech companies, said Amazon’s list of suppliers includes companies accused of hiring Uyghur workers, Louise Matsakis, a technical investigator, told NBC News.
The Tech Transparency Project identified three Amazon suppliers directly linked to forced labor in China: Luxshare Precision Industry, AcBel Polytech and Lens Technology.
According to its public supplier list, Amazon works with two Luxshare subsidiaries: Dongguan Luxshare Precision Industry and Shenzhen Luxshare Electro-Acoustic Technology.
Suppliers help manufacture Amazon-branded devices and products that are sold under house brands like AmazonBasics.
The report also warned that some of Amazon’s third-party suppliers may offer products made with labor from western China’s Xinjiang region, such as B. Cotton imports, which are already the subject of US sanctions, Matsakis said.
“The findings raise questions about whether Amazon is exposed to China’s oppression of Xinjiang’s Uyghur minority — and to what extent the e-commerce giant adequately reviews its supplier relationships,” researchers at the Tech Transparency Project write in the report.
Amazon declined to comment on the specific allegations. In a general statement, Erika Reynoso, a company spokeswoman, said: “Amazon complies with the laws and regulations in every jurisdiction in which it operates and expects suppliers to uphold our supply chain standards. We take allegations of human rights abuses seriously, including those related to the use or export of forced labour. Whenever we find or receive evidence of forced labor, we take action.”
The Australian Strategic Policy Institute, a think tank, estimates that from 2017 to 2019 at least 80,000 people from Xinjiang, a predominantly Muslim region, were forced to work in factories across the country as part of what the Chinese government calls “labor transfers”. work. programs. The workers are often taken from their family homes and generally have few rights, according to researchers, NBC News reported.
American companies are under increased pressure to ensure their supply chains do not trace back to Xinjiang, where human rights groups estimate that around 1 million Uyghurs, Kazakhs and other ethnic minorities are being held in detention camps. Factories are reportedly built into some of the facilities.
In December, US President Joe Biden signed legislation directing officials to treat all imports from Xinjiang as contaminated by forced labor unless proven otherwise.
© Thomson Reuters 2022