HomeSoutheast Asian AmericanWalmart investigates possible use of prison labor in Cambodia

Walmart investigates possible use of prison labor in Cambodia

Walmart and apparel company Centric Brands are investigating reports that forced labor from a women’s prison camp is being used to manufacture garments for sale, reports Reuters.

“Strong concerns regarding credible reports” have also been expressed by the American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA) in a letter to Cambodia’s ambassador to Washington in November.

“We didn’t want to work but we had to work,” one former inmate told Reuters. “When we were in the prison we were equal to zero.”

According to the Messenger, the import of prison-made goods is illegal in the U.S.

Two inmates say the items they made are connected to both Walmart and Centric Brands.

Walmart described its investigation as still active. Reuters could not independently confirm that the items were made in prison.

The Cambodian Ministry of Commerce says three companies have been fined $50,000 each and their export licenses were suspended for three months for prison labor violations.

Investigators from the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights have gone to the CC2 Prison to express their concerns.

Centric Brands is partnered with Izod, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger and Under Armour.

“We find the allegations very concerning,” a Walmart spokesperson said to Reuters. “Forced labor of any kind is abhorrent, and we believe all people should be treated with dignity and not be exploited.”

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