Increased demand for PPE raises concerns on slave labor

August 13, 2020


surgical masks and gloves


In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, demand for masks and face coverings has grown exponentially. Yet, some of the world’s masks and protective personal equipment are reportedly manufactured with forced labor in China. With a focus on human rights and the elimination of forced labor, Mercy Investment Services has joined the Investor Alliance for Human Rights (IAHR) in advocating for the end to slave labor in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in China. Several Chinese companies are producing masks and PPE using forced labor from the region where the government placed 1.8 million predominantly Turkic and Muslim people in detention camps, prisons and factories. IAHR recently released practical guidance for investors, which includes questions for companies regarding human rights impact assessments, supply chain, and company policies and practices on human rights. The toolkit will be a key component of Mercy Investment Services’ ongoing corporate engagements on fair labor.