Forced Labour: China

Department for Business and Trade written question – answered at on 19 February 2024.

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Photo of Iain Duncan Smith Iain Duncan Smith Conservative, Chingford and Woodford Green

To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, what steps her Department is taking to help ensure that the supply chains of UK car manufacturers do not include Uyghur slave labour.

Photo of Nusrat Ghani Nusrat Ghani Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade) (jointly with the Cabinet Office)

Modern slavery is a barbaric crime which we are determined to stamp out. In 2022, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights published its assessment of the human rights situation in Xinjiang, which found that China had carried out “serious human rights violations” against Uyghurs and other predominantly Muslim minorities.

Section 54 of The UK’s Modern Slavery Act 2015 requires businesses with a turnover of £36m or more to publish modern slavery statements and statements from relevant UK car manufacturers are available at https://modern-slavery-statement-registry.service.gov.uk. We have set out clear guidance for businesses on the risks of doing business in Xinjiang and announced plans to introduce financial penalties for organisations who fail to meet their statutory obligations to publish annual modern slavery statements.

I have requested meetings with named manufacturers in the Human Rights Watch (HRW) report entitled ‘Asleep at the Wheel: Car Companies' Complicity in Forced Labor in China’, published in February 2024, to discuss this issue in more detail.

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