Frequently Asked Questions

Updated October 2023

What is the Coalition to End Forced Labour in the Uyghur Region?

We are a global coalition of civil society organisations, investors, and trade unions united to end state-imposed forced labour and other egregious human rights abuses against Uyghurs and other Turkic and Muslim-majority peoples in the Uyghur Region in China, known to local people as East Turkistan. 

The Coalition was launched in July 2020 and currently consists of over 400 civil society organisations, trade unions, and investors that endorse our Call to Action. Uyghur-led organisations make up 35% of our Steering Committee. Visit our Homepage for a full list of members and endorsers.

What is the Coalition’s Call to Action?

The Coalition calls on all companies to completely disengage from the Uyghur Region to ensure that they are not supporting or benefiting from the pervasive and extensive forced labour being perpetrated by the Chinese government. Organisations can endorse the Coalition’s Call to Action here.

As of the enactment of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA) in the U.S., we also call on all companies with global sourcing operations, especially the hundreds of companies that have been credibly and publicly identified as operating in, or having business relationships in the Uyghur Region, to apply a single global standard, consistent with the requirements of the UFLPA, across their entire supply chain for all markets. We also call on companies to refrain from re-exporting any goods targeted for inspection or denied entry to the U.S. under the UFLPA and attempting to sell them in other markets.

Applying a single global standard means that companies take robust measures to ensure they do not use or profit from forced labour across their entire value chain, not just their U.S. sales. Companies should take steps to verify that they do not bifurcate their supply chains to extricate from suppliers or inputs that use forced labour for the US market while applying weaker standards for sales to other markets. 

What can companies do to ensure their supply chains are not tainted by Uyghur forced labour?

The Coalition is calling on businesses in all sectors to take verifiable measures to exit the Uyghur Region, committing to a single global standard, and engaging with the Coalition on measures to ensure they’re not profiting from Uyghur forced labour. Companies must:

  • Stop sourcing any raw materials, inputs, or finished products from the Uyghur Region; 
  • Cut ties with companies implicated in forced labour in the Region, including those that have operations in the Uyghur Region and have accepted government subsidies and/or labour transfers at those operations;
  • Prohibit any supplier factories located outside of the Uyghur Region from using Uyghurs and other Turkic and Muslim-majority workers supplied through the Chinese government’s labour transfer scheme;
  • Apply a single global standard consistent with the legal requirements set forth in the UFLPA across their entire supply chain and avoid bifurcating supply chains; and
  • Refrain from re-exporting any goods denied entry to the U.S. under the UFLPA and attempt to sell those goods in other markets. 

Recommended resources on how to identify exposure to Uyghur forced labour: 

  • Evidence Briefs published by Sheffield Hallam University 
  • Companies operating in the Uyghur Region or alleged to use labour transfers or other programs
How extensive is Uyghur forced labour in global supply chains?

Research shows that Uyghur forced labour is widespread within the supply chains of 17+ global industries, including apparel and textiles, information and communication technology, solar industries, auto, and other sectors

  • In 2020, 20% of cotton garments in the global apparel market were at risk of being tainted by Uyghur forced labour. In 2022, 90% of China’s cotton came from the Uyghur Region. 
  • As of 2022, 35% of the world’s solar-grade polysilicon and 32% of global metallurgical-grade silicon comes from the Uyghur Region. 95% of solar panels rely on solar-grade polysilicon. 
  • As of 2022, 12% of the global supply of aluminium is produced in the Uyghur Region.
  • Virtually, the entire global automotive industry is linked to Uyghur forced labour.  
  • 10 of the largest ICT companies’ supply chains have been linked to Uyghur forced labour.
  • As of 2022, 20% of red dates, globally, are likely tainted by Uyghur forced labour   
  • Other sectors at high risk of Uyghur forced labour include building materials, toys, and beauty products. 

Visit our Reports and News pages to read more about the scale of Uyghur forced labour in global supply chains. 

Will companies leaving the Uyghur Region improve conditions there? What about ‘unintended consequences’?

Uyghurs in the diaspora, who are able to exercise free expression, uniformly demand that all businesses exit the Uyghur Region, and comply with the steps outlined in the Coalition’s Call to Action. Over 70 Uyghur groups have endorsed the Call to Action. Businesses and governments must listen to what these groups – who act as the credible representatives of the victims in the Uyghur Region – demand. 

Private sector employers profiting from forced labour in the Uyghur Region cannot be identified, engaged, or screened out through traditional human rights due diligence methods pursuant to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs). There are no valid means for companies to verify that any workplace in the Uyghur Region is free of forced labour or to prevent the use of forced labour in these workplaces in line with human rights due diligence. 

The government of China is perpetrating systematic state-imposed forced labour against Uyghurs and other Turkic and Muslim-majority peoples as an instrument of repression. When forced labour is a widespread or systematic violation committed in furtherance of a state policy, it constitutes a crime against humanity under international law. The widespread forced labour scheme is an integral part of a broader Chinese government strategy of persecution. These repressive government policies have cultivated an acute climate of fear that prevents Uyghur workers from choosing employment freely, refusing employment in government schemes, and prevents individual companies from using their leverage to put an end to these abuses at a given workplace. Continuing to source from the Uyghur Region legitimises and enables this repressive system to continue.

How is state-imposed forced labour different from forced labour imposed by private sector actors?

Forced labour is defined by the International Labour Organization (ILO) as “work that is performed involuntarily and under the menace of any penalty.” State-imposed forced labour refers to forced labour imposed by state authorities, and is in violation of ILO Convention No. 105, which concerns forced labour imposed by state authorities and specifically prohibits forced labour as: punishment for the expression of political views; for the purposes of economic development; as a means of labour discipline; as a punishment for participation in strikes; as a means of racial, religious or other discrimination. 

In contrast, forced labour imposed by private actors including companies, is in violation of ILO Convention No. 29. In most privately-imposed forced labour, companies are expected to engage workers, trade unions, and suppliers to change the practices which drive forced labour, and to reform the purchasing practices and business models that incentivise forced labour. Disengagement is considered a “last resort” where attempts to improve the situation have failed. Disengagement should be undertaken responsibly and include remediation as applicable. 

In the Uyghur Region, where state-imposed forced labour is highly prevalent, companies cannot adequately conduct standard human rights due diligence to leverage, address or prevent, mitigate or remedy forced labour, like they would in many situations of privately-imposed forced labour. There are no valid means for companies to verify that any workplace in the Uyghur Region is free of forced labour or to prevent the use of forced labour in these workplaces. This is due to the inability to access facilities or workers, and lack of credible information being provided from operators in the Uyghur Region.

Amidst the horror unfolding in the Uyghur Region, the only human rights due diligence companies can carry out is supply chain mapping and desk-based due diligence to identify links to the Uyghur Region. In cases of exposure, the only way corporations can ensure they are not unwittingly bolstering the government’s repression is therefore to immediately fully extricate their supply chains from the Uyghur Region. Further, corporations must prevent the use of forced labour in facilities elsewhere that use workers forcibly transferred from the Uyghur Region.

Why is the Coalition’s focus on businesses? How can government and multilateral organisations take action to prevent Uyghur forced labour?

Under the UNGPs, businesses have a responsibility to conduct rigorous human rights due diligence across their value chains to identify and address human rights and environmental risks. In situations where companies are unable to prevent or mitigate these risks, including by increasing leverage, they should end the business relationship to ensure that they are not causing and contributing to human rights abuses. 

Governments should address gaps in corporate accountability by adopting legally binding measures requiring human rights due diligence. Coalition members spearheaded advocacy efforts leading to the U.S. Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA), and are advocating for multilateral mechanisms and policy instruments in the EU, UK, Canada, Australia, Japan, and Taiwan.

The Coalition is calling on national, state, and local governments and multilateral organisations to:

  • Adopt, strengthen, and enforce existing laws prohibiting the import of forced labour-made goods.
  • Adopt and implement binding laws requiring human rights and environmental due diligence in supply chains.
  • Impose targeted sanctions on individuals and entities that are responsible for, or benefit from, forced labour. 
  • Use all possible mechanisms to pressure the Chinese government to end forced labour and human trafficking in the Uyghur Region.
A company has a statement against forced labour. Does this mean the brand is not linked to Uyghur forced labour?

Many companies have published their general stance on forced labour, but very few address state-imposed forced labour and do not specify the steps they are taking to eliminate this in their supply chains. Business policies must address and commit to taking steps to prevent use of state-imposed forced labour in supply chains, which includes mapping their entire supply chain down to raw material level to identify all suppliers and sub-suppliers at every tier of their supply chain and determine whether they are operating in or sourcing from the Uyghur Region. Sheffield Hallam University’s Evidence Briefs offers guidance on identifying exposure to the Uyghur Region. 

How can civil society get involved in efforts to end Uyghur forced labour?

Civil society support is vital to building our movement to end Uyghur forced labour. The Coalition encourages all stakeholders to engage with companies and governments to take effective action to end Uyghur forced labour in global supply chains. 

We encourage shareholders, consumers, and advocates to join us in calling on companies to make these commitments by asking:

  • If the company is committed to the above statements, how is it implementing these commitments?
  • If the company is not committed to a single global standard, how is it ensuring that goods imported into markets other than the US are not tainted?
  • Is the company applying a single global standard, aligned with the legal requirements set forth in the UFLPA, to exclude Uyghur forced labour across its supply chains, and to not bifurcate its supply chains?
  • Is the company committed to not re-exporting goods detained under the UFLPA to other markets?

Visit our Related Actions page and for a list of independent actions you can take to get involved in the movement to end Uyghur forced labour.

Read the Solar Industry FAQs


Please reach out to us with any questions at [email protected].


Companies that wish to learn more about the single global standard or disengagement from the Uyghur Region can email us for resources, including FAQs for apparel and solar companies.