During an interview on EpochTV’s “Crossroads,” Nadine Maenza, chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, said that in order to effectively prevent big companies from using slave labor in China to manufacture their products, people should be willing to pay more for these goods.
If these companies are unable to continue with slave labor in Xinjiang, China, “it’s going cost more to get a pair of Nikes,” Maenza said.
“[Then] China wouldn’t have the opportunity they have right now to take advantage of our markets by flooding them with cheap labor because they’ve been produced by slaves,” she said. “We look back, and we blame this other generation for allowing slavery to happen in the United States. And then here we are, allowing it to happen because we want to save a couple of bucks on a pair of shoes or on a bag or on gym clothes.
“The easiest way to reshift this would be to have the American people say ‘no more,’ and it would actually benefit financially companies to end their engagement in slave labor.”
If people stopped buying products made with slave labor, all companies would want to have a certification saying they’re clear of those abuses because they would know they would make more money, she said.
“I think most Americans have absolutely no idea that they might have items in their house that were produced by slave labor,” she said. “And if they did, they’d make different choices in their purchasing.”
Therefore, it’s important that news media outlets cover the truth of what’s happening with all eyes on China, Maenza said, noting that she hopes that there will be more articles, news stories, and opportunities to call out all of those companies that use slave labor in China.
“We should be supporting companies that do not engage in these types of practices,” she said.
In December 2021, a law went into effect that bars importing to the United States goods that have been produced using forced labor of Uyghurs, certain ethnic minorities, or members of other persecuted groups in Xinjiang.
“This is a way that we can say to U.S. companies, ‘You can’t use slave labor to produce products to be sold in the United States,’” Maenza said. “‘That goes against our values, against any sort of standard of human rights.’”
By Ella Kietlinska and Joshua Philipp
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