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16 Jul 2019

Sophie McNeill, Jeanavive McGregor, Meredith Griffiths, Michael Walsh, Echo Hui & Bang Xiao, ABC news

Australian brands sourcing cotton from North West China to investigate after reports of forced labour of ethnic minorities

"Cotton On and Target investigate suppliers after forced labour of Uyghurs exposed in China's Xinjiang", 16 July 2019

...Four Corners can reveal that the following brands sold in Australia source cotton from Xinjiang: Target, Cotton On, Jeanswest, Dangerfield, Ikea and H&M. Cotton On and Target Australia are now investigating their relationships with suppliers in Xinjiang...

Target Australia told Four Corners that one of its direct suppliers is using a small amount of cotton yarn from a mill owned by a company called Huafu Fashion Co in Xinjiang. In May, a worker at a Huafu mill... told the Wall Street Journal she had come to the mill from a secret training program which removed her "extremist thoughts"... [T]he manager of the Huafu factory denied.. that his company used any form of involuntary labour. Target Australia said it was, "conducting a review of the situation".

…H&M, Adidas and Esprit are investigating or have suspended their relationships with Huafu…and UNIQLO, Nike, and PVH Corp…said they are looking into the issue…Nike said it was reviewing whether its suppliers sourced materials from the far-western region.

Ikea told Four Corners that…[it] is not aware of any forced labour among its sub suppliers in China...

…Dangerfield says…it inspects factories and…its suppliers have signed agreements not to purchase cotton…produced from forced labour camps.

Woolworths said some of the cotton Big W sources is likely to be from Xinjiang and…it is "working to improve traceability and transparency in key high-risk commodity areas, like cotton, through our Responsible Sourcing Program..."

Questions still remain about the cotton supply of…other well-known Australian brands. Just Group… sources 84 per cent of their products from China but would not tell Four Corners which regions the goods come from or rule out that they were from Xinjiang. Similarly, the Noni B group…would not rule out that products came from Xinjiang...