NEW YORK (December 15, 2021) — The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) is excited to announce the launch of the “Uyghur Forced Labor Checker,” a Google Chrome extension plug-in that informs consumers on whether the apparel brands they are buying from might be relying on Uyghur forced labor.
The Uyghur Region, known as Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, is located in the northwestern part of China. It is home to several ethnic groups, most notably the Uyghurs, who speak their own distinct language, and practice their own culture and traditions. The majority of the Uyghur population is Muslim.
More than one million Uyghurs, along with Tajiks, Kazakhs, and other Turkic-majority groups, have been arbitrarily detained and forced to work in labor camps across China. According to the Coalition to End Uyghur Forced Labour, “virtually the entire apparel industry is tainted” by such forced labor, and most fashion brands have been found to be profiting from this. The systematic repression of the Uyghurs currently being carried out by the Chinese government has been recognized as a genocide by the United States and Canada.
“It is very necessary now, during this holiday season, to educate consumers on the connection between the products they are purchasing and wearing, and the system of abuse that is at the root of the acts of genocide being carried out on the people making these clothes,” said HRF Senior Strategy and Research Associate Jenny Wang. “The fashion industry’s complicity must be exposed and condemned.”
Based on the Coalition’s list of brands, HRF’s plug-in generates a pop-up, indicating whether the respective brand might be linked to Uyghur forced labor. With this plug-in, HRF hopes to increase awareness about the intertwined relationship between the fashion industry and the crimes against humanity perpetrated by the Chinese government, and to encourage consumers to shop ethically this holiday season and beyond.
To learn more about the Uyghur genocide, and more broadly the Chinese government’s suppression tactics in the Uyghur Region, read HRF’s report 100 Years of Suppression: The CCP’s Strategies in Tibet, the Uyghur Region, and Hong Kong.
To learn more about Uyghur forced labor:
The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) is a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that promotes and protects human rights globally, with a focus on closed societies.
For interview requests of further comment, please email [email protected].