Corporations Advocating for “Racial Justice” May Also Benefit From Slave Labor

Many companies are claiming to take a stand against the oppression of black Americans this year following highly reported, yet questionable media coverage of police brutality cases framed through a racially tinged lens. Every American is aware of the black community’s historic roots in slavery. However, what is not highly reported to the American public is the companies advocating for racial justice today have been relying on ethically questionable labor primarily from China. The country has an ever-reinforced reputation of utilizing forced labor camps to produce wares for their international customers.

Earlier this month, DHS released a report detailing sanctions on Chinese companies that made a wide range of products using forced labor ranging from obvious items like textiles, garments, and hair products to more sophisticated products like electronic components. Sanctions have been placed on known companies within China utilizing slave labor therefore limiting American companies from working with these supply chains.

This extends actions taken by the Trump administration in July to bar new Chinese companies from purchasing American tech without special licensing. The Australian Strategic Policy Institute’s (ASPI) bombshell study revealed back in March that big-tech companies such as Google, Apple, Amazon, Samsung, Sony and Hewlett Packard were being supplied by using Uyghurs in forced labor factories. In total, 82 brands were implicated.

The irony is that many of these companies have also been vocal supporters of the BLM movement and claim to take a stand against the treatment of black Americans, while also benefitting from forced labor to artificially lower price points of products sold to consumers unaware of their practices. The following is a sample of companies implicated in the ASPIs report on the use of forced labor who have also donated to social justice causes this year:

  • Google has committed to donating $12 million to BLM groups over two years following the death of George Floyd. They’ve pledged $32 Million to social justice causes over the past 5 years.
  • Amazon has donated $10 million to various organizations stating in their blog post that “The inequitable and brutal treatment of Black and African Americans is unacceptable. Black lives matter.”
  • Apple has denied allegations made regarding forced labor despite the ASPIs case study alleging that several Chinese factories in Apple’s supply chain use Uyghur labor. They’ve committed $100 million in donations through Apple’s Racial Equity and Justice Initiative claiming to “challenge systemic barriers to opportunity and dignity that exist for communities of color.”

While all companies will deny knowingly using forced labor in the manufacturing of its products overseas, it should serve as an important point why manufacturing should be localized to where their respective consumers are located. The US legal system has minimal recourse for disputes against manufacturers based in foreign jurisdictions. It is also cost prohibitive to move manufacturing back to the US because of things like the minimum wage that drive up the price floor, and reduce employment opportunities for under-qualified prospects. We have not reduced exploitation as minimum wage law advocates suggest. We have in fact exacerbated it into a a form of slavery that can only be combated currently by sanctions. China has recently expanded their labor camps to include 500K Tibetan farmers signifying a growing demand.

Here is an explanation why the free market should be involved in setting the rates for US labor, manufactured goods and services rather than outsourcing them overseas:

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