On July 1, U.S Customs and Border Protection officials in New York announced that they had seized a shipment of weaves and other accessories. The beauty accessories and weaves are suspected to be made out of human hair that was taken from people who are currently locked inside Chinese internment camps.
Confiscated hair products
Around 13 tons of hair products were shipped and they are worth more than $800,000. The U.S Customs said in a statement that the hair products bore signs of human rights abuses of imprisonment and forced child labor. The violations included additional situations of forced labor, use of prison labor, excessive overtime, restriction of movement, and withholding of wages.
The Executive Assistant Commissioner of the CBP Office of Trade, Brenda Smith, said that the production of these hair products shows a very serious human rights violation in Chinese internment camps.
The confiscation of hair products is the way of the country to send a message to any company that wants to do business in the United States. They want companies to know that any inhumane practices will not be tolerated in the country, as reported by the NY Daily News.
A Uyghur American activist, Rushan Abbas, is believed to be locked in a Chinese detention camp. She said that women who use hair weaves should think about who is making them. Her sister went missing in China two years ago. Abbas stated that the idea of inhumane activities in Chinese detention camps is heartbreaking and that she wants people to think about the slavery that people are experiencing.
The news of the shipment came to light just a month after John Bolton, the former National Security Adviser, revealed in his book that President Donald Trump told Chinese President Xi Jinping that Uyghur concentration camps were the right thing to do.
Despite the anger over that claim, President Trump signed the bipartisan Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2020, which condemns the human rights violations of Muslim minority groups in Xinjiang, China. The shipment was made by Lop County Meixin Hair Product Co. Ltd.
The U.S Custom also confiscated hair products from a different Chinese company back in May, but what they got then was synthetic hair.
Both of the Chinese exporters are in China's Xinjiang region. The Chinese government has detained more than 1 million minorities over the past four years.
The minorities are being held in internment camps and prisons where they are forced to denounce their language and religion, where they are physically abused and where they are subjected to ideological discipline.
As for the company, the shipped the hair products, The Associated Press tried to visit the office back in 2019 during an investigation of forcing people to labor camps.
However, the authorities called the cab driver taking the journalists from The Associated Press to the area and ordered the cab driver to turn back and warned that the coordinates of the cab were being tracked.
The Chinese Ministry of Affairs responded to the accusation and said that there is no forced labor or detention of ethnic minorities in the region.