In an unprecedented move, the Fair Labor Association (FLA) has prohibited its member companies from sourcing from or producing in the Xinjiang region, in northwest China, because of growing concerns over violations of human and labor rights. The region is home to several ethnic minority groups, including the Uyghur people.

Last year, the FLA advised companies to determine whether the materials used to produce their finished goods originated in the region, and of so to presume that they were produced with forced labor. The organization said that evidence from credible sources has now shown that the policy of repression in the region continues to mount, with the Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities remaining subject to human rights abuses, such as forced labor and arbitrary detention.

In light of these ongoing practices, the FLA has therefore decided to prohibit sourcing and production – including direct and indirect sourcing of raw materials, inputs or finished products – from the Xinjiang region. The FLA, which is headquartered in Washington, DC, is a collaborative effort of socially responsible companies, universities and civil society organizations to tackle abusive labor practices. The members of FLA include Adidas, Esprit, New Balance, Nike, Puma and Toms Shoes.