Multinational corporations operate under the guise of ‘wokeness,’ while exploiting those abroad.
Multinational corporations have come to rely on social corporate activism, championing causes such as Black Lives Matter and Defund the Police. The very same companies demanding social progress within the U.S., however, rely on slavery and forced labor around the world. Starbucks, known for their activism, employs such practices in Brazil, with conditions so poor that the employees don’t even have access to water.
Now, Senator Hawley is trying to stop this double standard with new legislation. The U.S. can be a world leader with the reform of global supply chains, helping to end slavery and forced labor across the world.
According to a report published by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, 83 major brands, including notable industry giants like Adidas, Nike, Amazon, BMW, and Samsung, have relied on forced labor from Uyghurs in the Chinese province of Xinjiang. This exploitation is not unique to China: worldwide there are around 40.3 million slaves, roughly equivalent to the population of California.
Supply chains are inextricably tied to exploitation abroad. The Global Slavery Index estimates that “G20 countries are importing risk of modern slavery on a massive scale. Collectively, G20 countries are importing US$354 billion worth of at-risk products annually.”
Senator Hawley is critical of multinational corporations, particularly over their insistence on being vocal leaders of “wokeness” in America despite profiting off of exploitative practices abroad. As Hawley put it, “Corporate America and the celebrities that hawk their products have been playing this game for a long time—talk up corporate social responsibility and social justice at home while making millions of dollars off the slave labor that assembles their products. Executives build woke, progressive brands for American consumers, but happily outsource labor to Chinese concentration camps, all just to save a few bucks.”
Hawley has built his political image by going after multinational corporations, particularly over their willingness to leave the U.S. to produce goods abroad and their relationships with China.