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‘Status Quo is Not an Option’ in Apparel Supply Chain

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We might not like to think about it while we’re shopping online or at the local mall or big box, but as long as fashion has intersected with mass production, there have been apparel workers toiling in unsafe conditions. High-fashion brands are not immune, as reported in this recent article about the clothing supply chain in India.

Now, responding to reports of forced labor in China, several apparel and footwear trade groups have issued a joint statement condemning unsafe work practices and calling on the private and public sectors to do more to improve conditions.

“We are deeply concerned by reports of forced labor and the treatment of Uyghurs and other ethnic minority workers in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region [XUAR] and elsewhere in China,” the statement read. “The reported situation is of a scale, scope and complexity that is unprecedented during the modern era of global supply chains. 

“As acknowledged by both the U.S. government and non-government experts, the conditions in Xinjiang and the treatment of ethnic minority workers from the region present profound challenges to the integrity of the global supply chain, including issues of transparency, access and auditing. Accepting the status quo is not an option. “

The five groups issuing the statement were the American Apparel & Footwear Association, National Retail Federation, Retail Industry Leaders Association, the United States Fashion Industry Association and the Footwear Distributors & Retailers of America.

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