The bosses of retail giants including H&M, Amazon and Boohoo have been summoned to give evidence to a committee of MPs investigating the use of slave labour in the supply chains of UK companies.
The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (Beis) committee is probing the extent to which businesses in the UK are exploiting the forced labour of persecuted Uyghur Muslims at work camps in the Xinjiang region of China.
It has been estimated that 1m Uyghur Muslims are being held in internment camps in the northern Chinese province.
The committee has written to 14 firms to question them over potential supply chain links to slave labour in the region, including Gap, Ikea, Zara and M&S.
It has also asked sportswear brands Adidas, Nike and Puma to give evidence, as well as upmarket brands Victoria’s Secret, Stella McCartney and the North Face.
Tiktok and the Walt Disney Company are also among the companies that have been summoned to be quizzed by the committee over slave labour at a public hearing on 5 November.
The letters include questions around supply-chain transparency and ask the firms for evidence of compliance with labour, procurement and anti-slavery laws.
Nusrat Ghani MP, the lead BEIS committee member for the inquiry, said : “These businesses are trusted by many British consumers and I hope they will repay this faith by coming forward to answer these questions and also take up the opportunity to give evidence to the Business Committee in public.
“There have been a series of accounts of products being sold in the UK which can be traced back to forced labour at camps in China.
“On the BEIS Committee, we want to get a clearer sense of the extent of this problem, how seriously businesses ask questions of their own supply and value-chains, and to also examine the steps both government and business could take to ensure that businesses and consumers in the UK do not perpetuate the forced labour of Uyghur.”