The packages weighed nearly 13 tons and have an estimated value of over $800,000.
“It is absolutely essential that American importers ensure that the integrity of their supply chain meets the humane and ethical standards expected by the American government and by American consumers,” said Brenda Smith, Executive Assistant Commissioner of the CBP Office of Trade.
“The production of these goods constitutes a very serious human rights violation, and the detention order is intended to send a clear and direct message to all entities seeking to do business with the United States that illicit and inhumane practices will not be tolerated in U.S. supply chains.”
The hair came from Lop County Meixin Hair Product Co. Ltd., which is located in China’s Xinjiang region, an area where the Chinese government has imprisoned Uighurs, a Turkic-ethnic minority.
The PRC's human rights abuses in Xinjiang put businesses at risk of exposing their supply chains to forced labor and other abuses. Businesses must do their due diligence to avoid reputational, economic, and legal risks. Don’t be complicit.— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) July 1, 2020
In recent days, the Trump administration has expressed condemnation over reports indicating that Beijing is attempting to control the Uighur population through mass forced sterilization, Intrauterine Contraceptive Devices, and abortions.
According to the AP’s extensive investigation into what some are calling the Chinese government’s genocidal campaign, birth rates among the majority-Muslim group have dramatically dropped to unprecedented numbers in recent years.
Rushan Abbas, a Uighur activist living in America who spoke to the Associated Press, warned of China’s human rights abuses in detention camps where she suspects her missing sister is right now.
“This is so heartbreaking for us,” Abbas said.
“I want people to think about the slavery people are experiencing today. My sister is sitting somewhere being forced to make what, hair pieces?”
In May, CBP made a similar detainment of hair, that time synthetic hair weaves, from a company called Hetian Haolin Hair Accessories Co. Ltd. That company is also located in Xinjiang.
Moreover, the two hair companies have both been placed under CBP Withhold Release Orders, meaning CBP can seize the products for suspected ties to forced labor allowing the producer an opportunity to make their case.