Customers ordering “cheap gifts” for Christmas from Chinese-owned marketplace Temu are at risk of buying items made using forced labour, an MP has warned.
Head of foreign affairs select committee Alicia Kearns told the BBC she had “long been concerned about the rise of Temu and the risks it poses”, despite the marketplace saying it “strictly prohibits” the use of forced or child labour.
The warning comes after a US government investigation earlier this year found an “extremely high risk” that Temu products could have been made with forced labour.
The US Senate Committee reported that the only measure Temu took to ensure this did not happen was to ensure suppliers agreed to terms and conditions prohibiting the use of forced labour.
Data analyst Sensor Tower told the BBC the Temu app has 9 million monthly users and has “regularly topped app download charts” since its launch in the UK earlier this year.
Kearns added that, since the app’s launch, she had been “inundated” with adverts from Temu, telling the BBC “it’s been difficult to get away from them”.
She is calling for greater scrutiny of the marketplace to make sure “consumers are not inadvertently contributing to the Uyghur genocide”.
Kearns said: “When you look into where Temu gets its goods from, where in China it is producing them, you can see that these are areas where we know that there is the use of force[d] Uyghur slave labour.
“My request to Temu would be show us your supply chain. Show us that you are not using Uyghur slave labour.”
The BBC said Kearns’ concerns have been echoed by charities including anti-slavery charity Unseen.
Unseen chief executive Andrew Wallis said: “It is imperative consumers, but also governments, know the circumstances and the situations in which goods are manufactured and brought to market.
“The question consumers need to ask themselves is: [are these] goods that are in essence made by slaves? Is that the kind of gift you want to give at Christmas?”
A spokesperson for Temu told the BBC: “Employment by all our merchants and suppliers must be voluntary. We explicitly reserve the right to terminate any business relationship if a third party violates our platform’s code of conduct or the law.”