A major Apple supplier is using forced labor from thousands of Uighur workers in its factories in China, a report from the Tech Transparency Project found, according to The Washington Post.
“Our research shows that Apple’s use of forced labor in its supply chain goes far beyond what the company has acknowledged,” Katie Paul, the director of the Tech Transparency Project, told The Post.
Evidence of Lens Technology’s use of forced labor was available publicly, hidden in plain sight as government propaganda in news media, according to the Tech Transparency Project. Lens has for years supplied Apple with glass for iPhones, and the company also works with Amazon and Tesla, The Post noted.
The report details a variety of Chinese media reports that portray worker transfers as voluntarily relocations, often with a positive spin.
Apple didn’t respond to Business Insider’s request for comment, but a representative, Josh Rosenstock, told The Post: “Apple has zero tolerance for forced labor. Looking for the presence of forced labor is part of every supplier assessment we conduct, including surprise audits. These protections apply across the supply chain, regardless of a person’s job or location. Any violation of our policies has immediate consequences, including possible business termination. As always, our focus is on making sure everyone is treated with dignity and respect, and we will continue doing all we can to protect workers in our supply chain.”
Apple has been repeatedly accused of labor issues in China and has even broken business relationships with major suppliers as a result. In March, another major report found that Apple benefited from forced Uighur labor through its Chinese suppliers.
Though Apple has taken a public stance against these practices, the company reportedly joined Coca-Cola and Nike in lobbying efforts to weaken a bill designed to ban US companies from relying on Chinese forced labor.
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