Apple supplier Lens Technology has joined a growing list of companies that have been accused of using forced labor in its factories in China. Lens Technology also supplies lenses to other technology firms, such as Tesla and Amazon.
Lens Technology is one of at least five suppliers connects to the Cupertino tech giant’s supply chain that has been accused of exploiting forced labor from the Xinjiang region, according to human rights groups. The only difference between Lens Technology and other Apple component suppliers is that the company has a high-profile founder who has been involved in the production process of the iPhone since its debut.
Apple supplier Lens Technology accused of exploiting Uyghur forced labor in China
According to documents discovered by the Tech Transparency Project and shared with The Washington Post, thousands of Uyghur workers from the Muslim-majority region of Xinjiang were sent to work for Lens Technology.
An Apple spokesperson denied the report, saying in a statement that Lens Technology “has not received any labor transfers of Uighur workers from Xinjiang.” He added that Apple has a “zero tolerance” policy for forced labor.
“Any violation of our policies has immediate consequences, including possible business termination. As always, our focus is on making sure everyone is treated with dignity and respect, and we will continue doing all we can to protect workers in our supply chain,” the spokesperson said.
Though the spokesperson is claiming the Cupertino tech giant has a zero-tolerance policy for forced labor, last month it was reported that the company was lobbying against a bill called ‘The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act’ which “would require U.S. companies to guarantee they do not use imprisoned or coerced workers from the predominantly Muslim region of Xinjiang.” The Washington Post reports:
Apple, among other companies, has dispatched lobbyists to Capitol Hill in an effort to water down legislation that would hold U.S. companies accountable for using forced labor from the region..
[Tech Transparency Project director Katie] Paul said the alleged use of forced labor in Apple’s supply chain “may explain why the company is lobbying against a bill now before Congress that would sanction companies for their involvement in human rights abuses in China.”
Earlier this month, the Cupertino tech giant took action against iPhone camera supplier O-Film over similar forced labor claims, though that report stated that the company will still supply modules for lower-tier iPhones.