(CBSDFW/AP) – U.S. Customs and Border Protection says officers have detained a shipment of beauty supplies including weaves suspected to be made with human hair that originated in China. The agency tells The Associated Press it seized the shipment Wednesday in New York because the weaves appear to be a product of forced child labor and imprisonment.
Twice this year U.S. Customs has banned imports of hair weaves believed to be made by people locked inside Chinese detention camps. The detainees are being locked up as part of a massive crackdown that has held an estimated 1 million or more ethnic minorities, mostly Muslims.
Chinese authorities deny carrying out mass detentions.
Wednesday’s shipment was made by Lop County Meixin Hair Product Co. Ltd.
In May, a similar detention was placed on Hetian Haolin Hair Accessories Co. Ltd., although those weaves were synthetic, not human, the agency said.
Hetian Haolin operates in the Xinjiang region of China but its products were imported by Os Hair in Duluth, Georgia, and I & I Hair, headquartered in Dallas. I & I’s weaves are sold under the Innocence brand to salons and individuals around the U.S.
“CBP is responsible for targeting and eliminating unsafe and illicit goods from the U.S. supply chain,” said Brenda Smith, Executive Assistant Commissioner of CBP’s Office of Trade. “It is critical that members of the trade community closely inspect their supply chains to ensure that American businesses and consumers can trust that the products they purchase are safely and ethically sourced, without the use of forced labor of any kind.”
Federal statute 19 U.S.C. 1307 prohibits the importation of merchandise mined, manufactured, or produced, wholly or in part, by forced labor, including convict labor, forced child labor, and indentured labor. Importers of detained shipments are able to export their shipments or demonstrate that the merchandise was not produced with forced labor.