C&A, others, accused of slave labor for using Chinese cotton
Human rights group European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) filed a complaint with the Public Prosecution Service against clothing companies including C&A, Nike, Patagonia, and State of Art. According to ECCHR, those companies made products from Chines cotton, which is produced with slave labor.
In the Xingjiang region of China, the original inhabitants, the Uyghurs, are oppressed by China. They are put to work in what China calls re-education camps. ECCGR argues that cotton from Xinjiang is therefore made with forced labor and that the companies that use the raw material are therefore partly responsible for human rights violations. ECCHR filed the complaint in the Netherlands because the companies involved are registered or have their European headquarters here.
The Dutch charity Clean Clothes Campaign (SKC) called on the Public Prosecution Service to tackle the case quickly. "It is vital that legal means are used to enforce human rights in the supply chains of companies that outsource their production," said Wyger Wentholt of SKC. According to him, clothing chains are still hiding behind excuses too much.
Incidentally, earlier this year, many brands said they would stop using cotton from Xinjiang. Nike was among them. That put those brands on a boycott in China, where consumers believe the move constitutes an unjustified accusation against their country. Chinese brands took advantage of the nationalistic atmosphere among Chinese shoppers.
Reporting by ANP