A group of campaigners accuses Boohoo of not doing enough to stop forced labor in its factories. And its suppliers are under the threat of an impending US import ban.
Boohoo Under Threat Of US Import Ban After Allegations Of Slave Labor
The renowned online fashion brand, Boohoo and many of its suppliers are accused of widespread slave-labor. They are now under the threat of a possible US import ban. A British lawyer, campaigning for the cause, petitioned the US Customs and Border Protection. The agency says that it has sufficient evidence to start an investigation in the matter.
Duncan Jepson runs Liberty Shared, a group that campaigns against modern-day slavery. According to him, Boohoo is not doing enough to stop forced labor in its Lester factories from where many of its clothes come. According to him, the evidence against Boohoo are truly compelling. This should serve as a wake-up call to British institutions on how they handle modern-day slavery, specifically in the regions like Lester. What they would want to see is that Boohoo should eliminate wage thefts and ensure proper contracts. This will happen only if it gets into terms with the regulation of their supply chain. The firm should see the 11 indicators ILO (International Labor Organization) and see to it that it complies with them.
The previous year, the company’s sales in the US was £263.6m. It was more than one-fifth of its total revenue.
The US is already involved in a fight against modern-day slavery. As part of it, the country has banned certain Japanese video game diamonds from Zimbabwe and the furniture made in Mexican jails.
According to The US Tariff Act 1930, the country will not import from foreign countries by forced or child labor. Importing such merchandise may lead to seizure or exclusions. The importer may even be slammed with a criminal investigation.
According to the UK’s former anti-slavery commissioner, if the US finds that it is the Lester supply chain, the possibility of sanction against doing trade in the US is very real. According to him, there is no doubt of the purpose of the petition. It is there to ensure that countries that exploit others will not be able to trade and will face sanction in the world’s biggest economy. It will then create a gap for reputed businesses to come.
Boohoo is a Manchester-based company that has up to 15000000 online customers. It is seen as UK’s fastest-developing retailer. The firm sells clothes, accessories, shoes and beauty products to its mainly young customer-base. The firm’s expansion was quite fast from the time it started, in 2006. At present, it has offices both in Australia and the US. Last year, it increased its sales up to 40%, ££1.235 billion. And the profit was £92.2 million.
Unfortunately, last summer, a newspaper investigation exposed the firm’s compounding inequality in wages and poor working conditions in Lester. It is where 40% of its clothes are made. The government entrusted a multi-task agency with the task of verifying the claim.
Boohoo, in its turn, asked a lawyer to investigate the matter. She found out the claims were true to a great extent. This prompted the country’s Home Secretary to express her deep regret. According to the Textile Manufacturers’ Association in Lester, the US ban will have an adverse effect. But it is working to improve the situation.
Boohoo, in a statement, said that the company is working for eight months in collaboration with enforcement agencies. It also added that auditors and investigators have not found any evidence of modern slavery there. The company also has taken action against 63 suppliers that it found are going against the company’s standards in this regard. If they discover any such thing, it will disclose the same to the respective UK agency.