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UPDATE: Primark Says Forced Labor Labels a Hoax

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After further investigation, Primark has said the labels recently found in its clothing claiming forced labor and poor working conditions are more likely than not, a hoax.

Two shoppers at a Primark store in the UK’s Swansea reportedly found hand-sewn care labels in products they purchased. One label said, “Forced to Work Exhausting Hours,” and the other claimed, “’Degrading’ Sweatshop Conditions.”

Primark has said in several announcements over the course of this week that it would not take the matter lightly. The retailer recalled the items and investigated the matter.

In a company statement Friday, Primark said, “The labels are clearly from the same source. It is almost impossible to imagine circumstances in which such similar labels could have been sewn onto the garments at the factory where they were made, given that they were made by different suppliers, in different factories, on different continents, one in Romania and the other in India, thousands of miles apart. However, both garments carrying the hoax labels, were bought from our Swansea store in 2013.”

The retailer said it may also be “no more than a coincidence” that an exhibition featuring similar labels sewn into clothing was held in Swansea in 2013.

Primark is continuing its investigation of a third recent incident where a shopper in Northern Ireland claimed to have found a note stuffed into a pair of pants she purchased from Primark. The note reportedly read, “We work 15 hours every day and eat food that wouldn’t even be fed to pigs and dogs. We’re (forced to) work like oxen,” in Chinese. Primark said it is also investigating whether the note may be linked to the Swansea labels hoax.

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