Combatting human rights abuse: understanding the Uyghur Forced Labour Prevention Act (UFLPA)

Nowadays forced labour is a pressing issue due to a combination of economic, social, political, and environmental factors that create opportunities for exploitation. According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), there are an estimated 24.9 million people in forced labour worldwide.

The United States Congress were keen to combat forced labour and human rights abuses in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) of China. As a result, the Uyghur Forced Labour Prevention Act (UFLPA) was introduced in both the House of Representatives and the Senate in March 2020.

UFLPA prohibits the import of goods produced through forced labour in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) of China. The UFLPA requires companies that receive goods from China to certify that their products are not made using forced labour in the XUAR. Companies that fail to comply with the law could face fines, seizure of goods, and other penalties. The consequences of non-compliance with the UFLPA can be severe, including import restrictions, sanctions, corporate accountability, and criminal prosecution. It is important for companies to ensure that their supply chains are free of forced labour to avoid these repercussions.

Challenges in the fashion industry with cotton

The Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region is a major cotton-producing region in China, accounting for about 85% of China’s cotton production. There have been reports of forced labour in the cotton industry in Xinjiang, with Uyghur Muslims being forced to work in cotton fields and factories against their will.

Given Xinjiang’s significant role in China’s cotton production and the reports of forced labour in the region, there is increasing concern that the cotton produced in Xinjiang may be tainted by forced labour. As a result, many companies and governments have taken steps to address this issue, such as implementing supply chain audits and certifications to ensure that their cotton products are free from forced labour.

Strengthening supply chain transparency to help companies fight forced labour

When it comes to forced labour, – supply chain transparency is a crucial solution to the problem because it allows companies to identify and address potential risks within their supply chains. The Authenticate platform improves supply chain visibility for companies all over the world, helping to identify any potential areas where forced labour could be present. Authenticate provide tools for supply chain mapping, risk assessments, and supplier engagement.

  • Supply Chain Mapping: Provides a comprehensive view of a business’s supply chain across all tiers. Our location report allows companies to pinpoint suppliers based in a particular region at the touch of a button too.
  • Digital Audits: Creates bespoke audit templates to assess and benchmark supplier compliance or risk. Assessments could cover topics ranging from working hours, rate of pay and much more.
  • KPI Management: Collects and tracks supplier data against key metrics to monitor performance over time. By setting clear expectations and providing regular feedback on performance, businesses can work collaboratively with suppliers to improve working conditions and prevent forced labour.
  • Dashboards: Transforms static data from multiple modules and third-party data integrations to help businesses act on forced labour risk.
  • Document Management: Request, share and store documents related to labour practices and working conditions, such as supplier contracts modern slavery and worker welfare policies.

The Authenticate platform can help businesses to prevent forced labour in their supply chains by collecting data within a secure, central environment through the tiers. By identifying and addressing potential risks, businesses can take proactive steps to ensure that their supply chains are free from forced labour and other human rights abuses.

Ready to increase supply chain transparency and mitigate forced labour risks for your company?

Contact our friendly team today to find out how our technology can help.

For more information on the Authenticate platform or to discuss your challenges and requirements, get in touch with the team.