TTP Investigation: Apple Supplier Lens Technology Linked to Forced Labor, Records Show
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 7, 2021
Contact: Michael Clauw, email@example.com, 202.780.5750
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Campaign for Accountability (CfA), a nonprofit watchdog group that runs the Tech Transparency Project (TTP), released a report containing evidence that a key supplier of touch screens for Apple products, Chinese company Lens Technology, has used thousands of minority laborers from Xinjiang under China’s repressive forced labor program. The evidence, combined with TTP’s August report on Apple uniform supplier Esquel and other research, brings the number of Apple suppliers who have been credibly tied to China’s forced labor program to five.
CfA Executive Director Michelle Kuppersmith said, “Apple claims to be a leader in the fight against forced labor, but a close examination of its supply chain suggests otherwise. It would be one thing for Apple to brush off a single connection to a supplier tied to forced labor, but as the credible evidence builds up, Apple’s refusal to give any explanation other than outright denials points to a larger lack of accountability within the company.”
TTP shared its latest research with the Washington Post, which recently reported that Apple has been lobbying against a bill that will penalize companies for using forced labor. Taken together, the evidence shows that Apple’s use of forced labor in China is far more significant than the company has acknowledged to its customers and shareholders.
In addition to research into Lens Technology, TTP reported in August that Esquel, an Apple supplier of retail employee T-shirts, was blacklisted by U.S. authorities over its ties to coercive labor practices in Xinjiang. The Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), an Australian think tank, has previously reported that Foxconn Technology, Hubei Yihong Precision Manufacturing Co. Ltd and Hefei Highbroad Advanced Material Co. Ltd also participate in China’s forced labor program.
In one example of the new evidence unearthed by TTP, the project identified 2,200 people from the Kashgar area who were sent to Lens Technology by an organization called the Xinjiang–Suzhou Chamber of Commerce, according to a media report. The Chamber has claimed credit for arranging the transfer of more than 4,000 “outstanding ethnic youth” and “minority masses possessing a certain level of quality” from Kashgar and Hotan Prefecture in Xinjiang to companies in inner China between 2017 and August 2019.
Ms. Kuppersmith continued, “The body of evidence pointing to Lens Technology’s use of forced labor is quite damning, so it alone should provoke Apple to change its business practices. But, given the company’s outright denials when credible evidence of labor exploitation has been brought against other suppliers, it’s unclear whether the company will be honest with its consumers about the true human cost of their devices.”
Campaign for Accountability is a nonpartisan, nonprofit watchdog organization that uses research, litigation, and aggressive communications to expose misconduct and malfeasance in public life and hold those who act at the expense of the public good accountable for their actions.