A new report has found massive and expanding links between western car brands and abuses of Chinese Uyghurs, in everything from the hood decals and car frames to engine casings, interiors and electronics.

The report, from a team of researchers led by Laura T. Murphy, a professor of human rights and contemporary slavery at the U.K.’s Sheffield Hallam University, found 96 companies relevant to the auto industry mining, processing, or manufacturing in the Uyghur Region, including 38 with documented engagement in labor transfer programs. The authors say more than 100 international car and car parts manufacturers are at risk of sourcing from those companies.

“Consumers do not want cars made through exploitation. But a combination of China’s systematic repression of the Uyghurs and opaque supply chains has allowed the automotive industry to become reliant on abusive suppliers,” the authors said in a statement issued December 7. They say every major car brand — including Volkswagen, BMW, Honda, Ford, GM, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota, Stellantis brands (like Fiat, Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep), Tesla and NIO — is at high risk of sourcing from companies linked to abuses in the Uyghur region.

“Some are sourcing electronics from firms that are employing trafficked Uyghurs in factories in other parts of China. Some are unwittingly sourcing metals from the Uyghur region, because metal trading companies own equity in Xinjiang smelters. Some of the greatest exposure comes from the steel and aluminum used to make car frames, axels, bodies, engine casings, wheels and brakes. The world’s largest steel and aluminum producers have shifted into the Uyghur Region under Chinese government subsidies and incentives. But tires, interiors, windshields, batteries and practically every other major part are also implicated,” the report stated.

“The auto industry cannot wait another day to trace their supply chains back to the raw materials,” the authors concluded. “To do anything short of full tracing would be an enormous legal, ethical, and reputational risk.”

Source: https://www.supplychainbrain.com/articles/36233-report-links-car-supply-chain-to-forced-labor-in-china