New Report Claims Apple Supplier Uses Forced Labor in China


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Illustration for article titled New Report Claims Apple Supplier Uses Forced Labor in China

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While Apple says it has a thorough system of checks to ensure components used in its products are produced in an ethical manner, a new report claims that well known Apple supplier Lens Technology uses forced labor comprised of Uighur Muslim workers in China.

The report is derived from publicly available information gathered by the Tech Transparency Project that was later shared with the Washington Post, with the report accusing Lens Technology of using thousands of Uighur laborers sent to work in the company’s factories predominantly from China’s Xinjian region. For years, Lens Technology has supplied Apple, along with other big name tech companies including Amazon, Motorola, and Tesla, with electronic components such as cover glass, touch sensor modules, and more.

In its report, Tech Transparency Project director Katie Paul says “Our research shows that Apple’s use of forced labor in its supply chain goes far beyond what the company has acknowledged.”

However, in a comment made to the Washington Post, Apple spokesperson Josh Rosenstock claims the opposite, saying Lens Technology “has not received any labor transfers of Uighur workers from Xinjian,” and that earlier this year Apple “ensured that none of its other suppliers are using Uighur labor transferred from Xinjian.”

Furthermore, Rosenstock says “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.”

Meanwhile, the Chinese government also denies these claims, with China’s Foreign Ministry telling the Washington Post that the use of forced labor in China is “nonexistent.”

That said, while Apple claims it has no tolerance for forced labor, multiple reports from…