Founded in 2008 in China and currently based in Singapore, Shein has become one of the symbols of very cheap fashion. “Although Shein claims that its products do not use forced Uighur labour and that they work with third parties to audit their facilities, experts say these types of audits are easily manipulated or falsified under pressure from authorities,” the lawmakers, both Democrats and Republicans, wrote in a letter to the agency overseeing the stock markets (SEC) on Monday.
The Chinese authorities are accused by Western countries of having massively locked up members of the Muslim Uighur minority in re-education camps, after bloody attacks in the Xinjiang region. And major textile companies are regularly accused of profiting from the exploitation of Uighurs in cotton fields, workshops and factories in the region.
“Demonstrating their commitment to human rights
Also if rumours of a possible listing of Shein on the New York Stock Exchange by the end of the year are confirmed, and considering the “credible allegations of use of underpaid and forced labour”, the SEC must require an independent firm to verify that the group does not use forced labour of Uyghurs, the 24 parliamentarians who signed the letter ask.
Being listed on Wall Street “is a privilege” and “foreign companies that wish to do so must demonstrate their commitment to human rights around the world,” they added. Shein did not immediately respond to a request from AFP. But the group told the BBC it had no current plans to list in New York and said it had “zero tolerance for forced labour”. (AFP)