In an audit, the manufacturer did not disclose its use of forced labor.
The American manufacturer of footwear Skechers issued an official statement in response to accusations by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute of the use of slave labor in China, which affected more than 80 international companies.
The company noted that it regularly conducts audits, including unannounced ones, at factories in China to verify working conditions and exclude the use of forced or child labor in any form. According to the company, no violations were found during the 2020 audits.
"Members of the Uighur ethnic minority work under the same conditions as all other workers at the plant, including working conditions, pay, and promotion. It has also been confirmed that all employees, including those from the Uighur ethnic minority, are free to leave if they no longer wish to work at the factory," Skechers said in a statement.
The company also stressed that since the ASPI report was published (in February 2020), Skechers has conducted two additional audits at the factory in June or November of last year, which found no evidence of forced labor by Uighurs or any other ethnic or religious group.
Skechers' statement came amid an ethnic scandal that erupted this spring, in which global fashion giants Nike and H&M faced a massive boycott of their products in the Middle Kingdom. The reason for this was statements made by company representatives and their concerns about the Uighur labor situation and their refusal to purchase cotton produced in the region as part of a protest against the use of forced labor.
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