A Chinese supplier has reportedly used minorities forced to reside in detention camps to produce its clothing

A Chinese supplier has reportedly used minorities forced to reside in detention camps to produce its clothing

Performance apparel maker Badger Sport has suspended orders at one of its suppliers in northwest China following media reports that its garments are being made by forced labour in Xinjiang's internment camps.

According to press reports, the Hotan Vocational Education and Training Center detains 1m Muslims – Uighurs, Kazakhs and others – some of whom are forced to work in manufacturing and food production.

An investigation by the Associated Press has tracked ongoing shipments from one factory – Hetian Taida Apparel – which supplies Badger Sport, a US company that provides sports apparel to wholesalers and sports teams across the country. The company last week acquired peer Garb Athletics.

Badger Sport has confirmed it has suspended operations with Hetian Taida.

"Badger Sport sources quality athletic apparel at our plants in the United States and Nicaragua as well as from supplier facilities around the world. We are committed to the highest standards of business ethics. We require all suppliers to follow our Global Sourcing Policy, and we have a zero tolerance policy for violations.

"In recent days, press reports have alleged that one supplier's facility, Hetian Taida Apparel Co Ltd was acting in a manner that is inconsistent with our policies. This facility is certified by Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP), an independent, non-profit team of global social compliance experts dedicated to promoting safe, lawful, humane, and ethical manufacturing around the world.

"We immediately suspended ordering product from Hetian Taida and its affiliates while an investigation is conducted. 1% or less of our products were sourced from Hetian Taida. We will not ship to customers any product in our possession from that facility.

"Badger Sport manufactures quality performance apparel, at prices accessible to all. We take our manufacturing principles very seriously, both in the performance of our garments and the conditions in which they are made. We are committed to upholding our mission of 'Quality for All,' which has helped Badger become the trusted supplier to team dealers, decorators and apparel wholesalers throughout the US."

It is against US law to import products made with forced labour, and US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) says the investigation "for the first time appears to link the internment camps identified in Western China to the importation of goods produced by forced labor by a US company."

It added it is "actively taking steps" to determine whether violations exist.

China was one of seven countries named earlier this year in the US Department of Labour's '2017 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labour' report for using forced labour in garment production.

And in October, PVH Corp, Nike, Ralph Lauren and VF Corp were among 123 companies that signed a commitment to prevent forced and unfair labour practices in global apparel, footwear and travel goods supply chains.