New bill to hold celebrities, companies accountable for profiting from slave labor

Hawley's bill would penalize companies for failing to meet human rights standards

Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., plans to introduce legislation to require companies and celebrities to "pay the price" if they're found to use slave labor in their supply chain or endorse products that do.

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"Corporate America and the celebrities that hawk their products have been playing this game for a long time – talk up corporate social responsibility and social justice at home while making millions of dollars off the slave labor that assembles their products," Hawley said in a statement on Monday. "Executives build woke, progressive brands for American consumers, but happily outsource labor to Chinese concentration camps, all just to save a few bucks."

Hawley's Slave-Free Business Certification Act would require regular audits of companies and penalize them for failing to meet human rights standards.

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Hawley's bill appears to be targeted at the Chinese government's Uighur camps in Xinjiang province and comes after U.S. officials seized a huge shipment of products that they suspect were made with human hair as part of an effort to crack down on forced labor in China.

In this Sept. 20, 2018 file photo, a Uighur woman and children sit on a motor-tricycle after school at the Unity New Village in Hotan, in western China's Xinjiang region. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

The senator's office said at least 80 global companies have been tied to Uighur labor camps, including Nike, Adidas and Samsung.

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Players for the NBA, which brings in hundreds of millions from China each year, have faced criticism for ignoring human rights abuses in China.

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Others have spoken up about what they see as the Chinese government's "atrocities." The CEO of online payment processing company Stripe called for U.S. businesses to take a stand against the Chinese government's "atrocities" in a message that was retweeted by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.

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