Slavery is a moral evil and we can all agree on that, however, so many of us use products created by slave labor that it’s become intertwined within our society. Many things we use daily are created by slave labor, from phones to shoes. What’s more, many people don’t even know that their products are being created that way.
It looks even worse when the same companies utilizing slave labor are some of the most vocal in terms of social justice.
According to The Federalist, Republicans are continuing their long tradition of damaging the institution of slavery by making these American companies that rely on it pay a hefty fine for utilizing it. The effort is being led by Sen. Josh Hawley, who even makes the purpose of the bill pretty plain in its name:
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.”
As the Federalist pointed out, Forbes reported on findings that showed 83 companies were utilizing forced labor in order to craft their products, and many of these companies are some of the most successful brands in America:
Although journalists have in the past linked Western companies to forced Uighur labor, this is the first time the problem is made apparent on such a large scale, enveloping factories and supply chains across the country. The 83 foreign and Chinese companies that ASPI has identified as directly or indirectly benefiting from the potentially abusive transfer programs for Uighurs include clothing brands such as Adidas, Gap, Tommy Hilfiger and Uniqlo; carmakers such as BMW, General Motors, Jaguar and Mercedes Benz; and tech giants such as Apple, Google, Huawei and Microsoft.
Some of these companies are very loud about their efforts for social change and equality. Apple CEO Tim Cook boasted in June that Apple would be a “force for change” when the Black Lives Matter protests has kicked into high gear.
“This country was founded on the principles of freedom and equality for all. For too many people, and for too long, we haven’t lived up to those ideas. This means taking action,” Cook said in a statement.
Both Nike and Adidas are linked to the Uighur slavery chain, yet both of them also made virtue signal statements about how people are affected by systematic problems after George Floyd’s murder.
Together is how we move forward.
Together is how we make change. https://t.co/U1nmvMhxB2
— adidas (@adidas) May 30, 2020
Hawley’s bill, if it passes, will force these corporations to put their money where their mouth is in terms of reaching real equality. Slavery should not be supported, and companies taking advantage of it should be made to feel the harm they cause.