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Article

China: Mattel responds to allegations re risks of sexual harrassment in Barbie factories; ActionAid reacts

"Mattel reacts to our interpellation. Our response", 4 December 2020

In a right of response published in Auféminin on 3 December 2020, Mattel indicates:

[English translation provided by the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre - click "Read more"/"Lire la suite" for the French version]

"Mattel does not tolerate any form of harassment and we are committed to ensuring that every one of our collaborators, including those who work in our factories, are treated with equity and respect.

We strictly follow a Code of Conduct. On our production sites in China, we organise training against harassment, train our collaborators on problem-reporting processes in the workplace and provide an assistance hotline service which allows our collaborators to report anonymously any harassment or other complaints. [...]

We take these allegations very seriously and we are going to conduct a thorough investigation to make sure that we continue to provide a safe work environment to our collaborators."

ActionAid's reaction

[English translation provided by ActionAid]

We welcome Mattel's commitment to finally conduct a thorough investigation into sexual harassment in its factories. To fulfill this commitment, we ask Mattel to conduct an investigation of sexual harassment and the risks that may cause it in all its factories and throughout its supply chain, and to publish the methodology of this investigation, its results and the corrective measures taken.

The Code of Conduct put forward by Mattel as evidence of the brand's commitment to ensuring a harassment-free workplace is well documented in our report, and we explain why it is of no practical use. [...]

Regarding the existence of anti-harassment training mentioned by Mattel, we have noted that it is not given at all to workers, which it should be, to allow the prevention of sexual harassment. [...]

Our report mentions that there is a hotline for workers to report issues at the factory, but we explain why it is ineffective. [...]

Finally, with regard to certification by the International Council of Toy Industries (ICTI), we show in the report that the standard used by ICTI is poor with regards to sexual harassment. [...]

Mattel can and should address sexual harassment. Our new investigation shows that sexual harassment is indeed present in this factory. In 2019, we found sexual harassment cases in another Mattel-owned factory, and we communicated the issue with the company.

We call on the company to adopt as soon as possible a genuine policy against sexual harassment. The policy should be applicable throughout its supply chain, with a clear definition of sexual harassment, an easy-to-understand complaints procedure, disciplinary actions against perpetrators and protection and reparation measures for victims.

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