When social justice warriors profit from the Chinese Communist Party’s slave trade

When social justice warriors profit from the Chinese Communist Party’s slave trade - Nine Line Apparel

Trust but verify: one of the core tenets of the special operations community. But to the most senior executives within the apparel industry, it’s apparently a foreign concept. 

Like the President mentioned in his State of the Union, the American people want to know their jobs are secure and that their government will crack down on unfair competition and unethical business practices. In 2021, the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA) was the first of its kind legislation championed by both Democrats and Republicans and came into force in June of 2022. At that time, all manufacturers importing textiles had to certify they were not utilizing cotton or any other materials sourced from Xinjiang China where over 1 Million Uyghurs are conscripted from birth to some of the most inhumane and inhospitable conditions imaginable.  The idea behind the law was to cripple the dependence on goods from China’s  slave camps. Free slave labor meant of course much cheaper products for American businesses that imported cotton materials and clothes. 

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Months later, the problem hasn’t been solved. Some of the largest manufacturers are still utilizing forced labor to ensure hefty profit margins. The federal government’s enforcement has been paltry at best.
Since the current administration isn't enforcing the UFLPA, we at Nine Line took matters into our own hands. We set out to test our manufacturers both out of an abundance of caution and a bit out of curiosity. If our business were to knowingly cheat the system by importing illegal goods by failing to mention they originated from Xinjiang, I would imagine my days in the industry would be numbered.  Customs and Border Patrol along with the Federal Trade Commission would be knocking on my door. At the very least, I’m sure my customers would be livid.  They’d feel lied to.  And they would choose to go elsewhere, especially as I spearheaded a social media campaign about how important it is to ethically source goods and a plan to do so in the near future.  


Ugyers forced labor
1. Stringer Shanghai/Reuters.com

At first I did not believe the test results and began to conduct a subsequent test in hopes this was an isolated incident. When I contacted the manufacturer’s CEO to request a meeting to determine next steps,their lawyers threatened litigation if I did  not keep their name confidential. When I had my lawyers respond with Isotopic test results that are admissible in  court, the tone changed and excuses came pouring in. 



Xinjiang concentration camps
2. Wikicommons/Baptistpress.com

I buy my blanks – the plain clothes on which we print – from distributors like Sanmar and S&S activewear who house dozens of brands that I still use like Bella Canvas, Hanes, and District Thread. When I tested these brands and others, the results were offered to both manufacturers and distributors to know who is potentially breaking the law and at the very least, who is unethically misleading customers to believe products did not originate from Xinjiang. 


As a result, I demanded to return all products at the exact cost I paid, and requested all goods be destroyed.  While I have assurances from the manufacturer that the products I re-branded as Nine Line will be destroyed, there were no assurances that the slave-ridden products I did not re-label would be quarantined from entering the market.  I would hope the manufacturer would work with a testing facility to verify my results or show competing results that my testing was flawed.  Due to this lack of transparency, I informed the manufacturer that I will not be using their product offerings until they make assurances that all goods purchased through S&S Activewear's distribution center are tested prior to further purchases, unless the manufacturer will guarantee no future tests will show the presence of slave cotton. I truly appreciate the help of S&S and commend them for taking this situation seriously; they are allowing me to use the credit provided to purchase products from the likes of Hanes and Bella Canvas, who have passed previous tests.  Over the past few months I discovered competitors who manufacture shirts with slave cotton can cut their COGS by upwards of 50% versus those companies who are ethically sourcing materials according to current import laws. This unfair advantage hurts those doing the right thing by forcing us to lower costs in order to remain competitive. One of my competitors in the Veteran space - a company that alludes they are “Veteran Owned” when they are in fact not - uses this unethical manufacturer almost exclusively, while similarly posting on social media the importance of ethics and doing the right thing for your community.

Ugyers Cotton Slave Trade
3. Getty Image/BBC.COM

It’s a shame that the American people have been lied to and are not able to trust what a company says. I have made it my life’s work to bring manufacturing back to the US and if we are unable to enforce the current laws, China will succeed in its blatantly obvious intent to undermine our economy and destabilize our manufacturing capabilities. Nine Line will answer the call to stick up for the Uyghurs and for the workers in our factory right here in Georgia. We will allow our actions to speak louder and will happily call out the hypocrites who advocate against social injustice while profiting hundreds of millions of dollars from the slave trade. Nine Line will return any and all products that test positive for containing slave cotton and encourage any retailer who is concerned with where their product is sourced to have them tested and look to alternative suppliers who do not sacrifice their soul for profits.

Importance of Ethically Sourced Products


Image 1: (Stringer Shanghai/Reuters.com)

Image 2: (Wikicommons/Baptistpress.com)

Image 3: (Getty Image/BBC.COM)


  • Wendy Deakins

    I am so proud of you for the stance you have taken!!!! and for this article. It was an education. I feel manufacturing of all products needs to be done in the US. Again…Thank you

  • Dave L

    Thank you for shining the spotlight on the abusive behavior of the CCP. I always have and will continue to buy your products in support of our veterans and all of our brave military families that protect this country.

  • Garland Hill

    Agreed. USA sourced and manufactured are my main concern, priority. Nine Line. Always. Molon Labe Patriots.

  • Koby Smith

    Thank you for your integrity and your stance! As a retired veteran I appreciate you and your products! American Made!! Live it, Love it or Get Out!🇺🇸

  • Trey Wynn

    Thanks for sharing the truth.

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