Lens Technology, a Chinese company that makes glass for the iPhone, has allegedly made use of Uighur Muslim forced labor, according to a Tuesday report in The Washington Post.
Documents about the use of alleged forced labor were discovered by the Tech Transparency Project. The research organization detailed how “thousands of Uighur workers from the predominantly Muslim region of Xinjiang were sent to work for Lens Technology.”
Lens Technology also does work for Amazon and Tesla. The Washington Post tells of oppressive conditions endured by Chinese factory workers:
“Some Uighur workers have told human rights groups that they were given a choice between taking a job in a far-flung factory or being sent to a detention center. In some cases, workers have said that when they ‘accept’ the job, they live in heavily guarded campuses and are rarely allowed to leave. In the evenings, when their shifts end, the Uighur workers say they are forced to take lessons in communist propaganda. Whether the Uighurs are paid, and exactly how much, is unclear.”
Apple denies the claims against Lens Technology
An Apple spokesperson denied that Lens Technology has received labor transfers of Uighur workers from Xinjiang.
“Apple has zero tolerance for forced labor,” the spokesperson said. “Looking for the presence of forced labor is part of every supplier assessment we conduct, including surprise audits. These protections apply across the supply chain, regardless of a person’s job or location. Any violation of our policies has immediate consequences, including possible business termination.”
This isn’t the first time that an Apple supplier has been linked to forced labor practices in Xinjiang. Earlier this month, Apple reportedly removed Chinese manufacturer O’Film Group from its camera module supply chain due to similar offenses. According to The Washington Post, “at least five” companies in Apple’s supply chain have been linked to forced labor.