State Officials Demand Shein Prove It Doesn't Use Forced Labor

State Officials Demand Shein Prove It Doesn't Use Forced Labor

September 1, 2023 :A group of 16 state attorneys general has sent a letter to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) urging the agency to ensure that fast-fashion retailer Shein can independently verify that it doesn’t use forced labor before it’s allowed to go public.

The letter, led by Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen, cites allegations that Shein’s suppliers in China have used forced labor, including from the Uyghur minority group. The attorneys general argue that these allegations raise serious concerns about Shein’s compliance with U.S. law, which prohibits the import of goods made with forced labor.

“Shein is a rapidly growing company poised to go public,” the letter states. “Before that happens, it is essential that the SEC ensure that Shein has taken all necessary steps to prevent forced labor from being used in its supply chain.”

The attorneys general are requesting that the SEC require Shein to conduct an independent audit of its supply chain and publish the audit results. They also request that the SEC prohibit Shein from going public until it has taken steps to address the forced labor allegations.

Shein has denied the allegations of forced labor. In a statement, the company said it “has zero tolerance for forced labor” and is “committed to ensuring that all of our suppliers comply with all applicable laws and regulations.”

The letter from the state attorneys general is the latest in a series of challenges facing Shein. The company has also been criticized for its environmental impact and lack of transparency about its supply chain.

The SEC is considering whether companies should disclose more information about their supply chains. The letter from the state attorneys general could add weight to the argument that such disclosure is necessary to prevent forced labor.