Republican Sen. Josh Hawley is introducing a bill that would punish American companies for using slave labor to create their products, as multiple American businesses such as Nike and Apple have come under fire for their ties to Chinese labor camps that incarcerate Uighur Muslims.
The Slave-Free Business Certification Act would require every American business that takes in over $500 million worldwide to conduct audits and have CEOs certify to the U.S. Department of Labor that their companies are not using slave labor in their supply chains, in addition to publishing a report of the company’s efforts to ensure their supply chains are free of forced labor. The bill would also allow the Labor Secretary to fine companies up to $500 million for failing to comply.
“Corporate America and the celebrities that hawk their products talk up corporate social responsibility and social justice at home while making millions of dollars off the slave labor that assembles their products,” Hawley said. “Executives build woke, progressive brands for American consumers, but happily outsource labor to Chinese concentration camps.”
In March, a study published by Forbes revealed that 83 companies worldwide, including American businesses such as Nike, Gap, Tommy Hilfiger, General Motors, Apple, Google, and Microsoft, had “directly or indirectly” profited from Chinese treatment of Uighur Muslims. Hawley has also slammed the NBA for its ties with China, after fans were prohibited from customizing their basketball jerseys with the slogan “FreeHongKong.”
Rather than let fans order #FreeHongKong jerseys @nba kills custom gear altogether. Now about the slave labor that helps make all those @nba @nike product lines … https://t.co/BK5dnWbE9i
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) July 16, 2020
Hawley’s bill comes a week after U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr lambasted corporate America and Hollywood for “kowtowing” to the Chinese Communist Party. Barr specifically called out companies like Google, Microsoft, and Apple for being “all too willing to collaborate with the CCP.”
In addition to companies that benefit from Chinese labor camps, Hawley criticized businesses like Starbucks and Nespresso for their use of Brazilian workers that Hawley alleged are “denied basic necessities like food and water.”