TEMU HITS BACK! Chinese-founded bargain shopping app in furious response to child slavery claims

The Nightly
3 Min Read
The Chinese-founded bargain shopping app also told The Nightly that “from what we understand … our standards and practices are in line with those of major US e-commerce platforms, such as Amazon, eBay, and Etsy”.
The Chinese-founded bargain shopping app also told The Nightly that “from what we understand … our standards and practices are in line with those of major US e-commerce platforms, such as Amazon, eBay, and Etsy”. Credit: The Nightly

Temu has furiously hit back at shocking new allegations it was turning a blind eye to child slavery.

The Chinese-founded bargain shopping app also told The Nightly that “from what we understand … our standards and practices are in line with those of major US e-commerce platforms, such as Amazon, eBay, and Etsy”.

And it vowed that any employees engaging in forced labour would be terminated immediately.

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The latest child slavery accusations against Temu were made by the prestigious US tech website The Information.

It reported Temu had “walked back” a “short-lived policy requiring suppliers to certify that cotton used in any apparel production wasn’t made in China’s Xinjiang Autonomous Region”.

But a Temu spokesman told The Nightly that it took its “commitment to legal compliance and ethical practices” very seriously.

“We will not compromise ethical and lawful practices for the sake of business conduct,” he said.

“We have implemented a multifaceted system to ensure adherence to all relevant laws and regulations, including those related to forced labour. We constantly strive to improve and strengthen these processes.”

Temu said part of its “technological safeguards” to ensure against child slavery in its supply chain include “tools for text, image, and video recognition to flag products potentially connected to forced labour concerns”.

There were also “Random product inspections, including label and origin check”.

Temu maintains rigorous oversight of our supply chain, with a multifaceted approach that includes proactive monitoring and prevention of prohibited entities and products, a stringent third-party code of conduct, random inspections, and technological safeguards specifically focused on identifying products of concern,” the spokesman said.

Part of The Information’s investigation into Temu suggested that managers at factories that make apparel claim it was even “encouraging them to continue using cotton from China” instead of sourcing from other countries.

The Temu spokesman also claimed this was untrue.

“We categorically reject any suggestion that Temu would tell merchants to ignore or flout any law or regulation,” he said.

“We also want to make it unequivocally clear that any Temu employee who suggests merchants can violate the law or regulation will be considered to have committed serious misconduct, which is strictly prohibited by our internal business conduct policies.

“Employees found engaging in such behaviour, upon verification, will face severe disciplinary actions, including termination of employment. Should any collusion with merchants be discovered, particularly involving unlawful personal financial gain, further legal actions beyond financial penalties will be decisively taken.”

The Nightly first exposed problems with Temu and put the issue on the agenda in Australia with an article in early March that revealed the scary reality behind the popular bargain shopping app.

Lawmakers in the United States last year warned there was an “extremely high risk” that products sold on the platform were made in China with forced labour.

And Australian Senator David Shoebridge, who said modern slavery was a multibillion-dollar industry, warned the company appeared to be “ruthlessly focused” on costs regardless of ethical considerations.

This came on top of serious concerns about data security and privacy exposed by The Nightly.

Senator Shoebridge told The Nightly last month that he deleted the app after learning of data security concerns as well as a lack of transparency and supply chain safeguards.

“I purchased a set of cooking liners for an air fryer and then shortly after deleted the app, the lack of privacy protections and the concerns about its unethical supply chain was the reason,” he said.

“I would urge people not to use the app and, like myself, inform themselves about the risks, protect their data and look for more transparent and ethical online platforms.

“I suspect I’m not alone in having received relentless ads for this site across social media applications who are themselves making money pushing this concerning app.”

Despite the plea from the Senator, The Nightly’s questions to Government MPs about whether they used the app or would delete have so far gone unanswered.

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