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Thu 27 Jun 2013 12:43 PM

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Emirates denies using headphones made by abused inmates

Dubai-based carrier refutes claims that headphones came from prisoners in China jail

Emirates denies using headphones made by abused inmates
(Photo for illustrative purposes only)

Emirates Airline has denied claims headphones distributed on its flights were made by abused Chinese inmates.

New Zealand man Danny Cancian told the Australian Financial Review (AFR) he witnessed the inmates being forced to make the headphones for $1.30 per month while he also was in Dongguan Prison last year.

Prisoners were abused and sometimes tasered by guards if they did not meet set targets for the number of headphone sets to be made, he claimed.

Cancian said the headphones were made for a supplier called Dongguan City Joystar Electronic Co, which used the prison for large labour orders. They were then provided to Emirates, its Australian partner Qantas and British Airways, the AFR claimed.

Qantas said in a statement that it was concerned about the allegations and had launched an investigation. The supplier had been temporarily suspended, the company said.

However, Emirates and British Airways quickly denied the allegations entirely. 

Emirates said there were no unethical practices in its supply chain.

An Emirates spokesperson said: “Emirates’ headsets are manufactured by an industry leading company that supplies over 200 airlines around the world. Emirates has had a long relationship with this supplier and is satisfied that there is no evidence of any unethical practices in the headset manufacturing process.”

In a statement, BA added: "Our supplier has made it abundantly clear that it has never used prisons in China to produce any BA headsets."

The prisoners also claimed they had made parts for other international companies, Cancian said.

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RAH 7 years ago

Nothing wrong with inmates being made to work. They are in jail in the first place for wronging society, to coerce them to work is only fair they pay for the cost of maintain the jails they are housed in. Afterall, they are the ones who decided to break laws and breach humanity decency and ethical behavior in the first place.

Let them work and learn to contribute positively to society and world airlines so that I, a law-abiding citizen, can enjoy the IFE.

Billy 7 years ago

Rah, think you have missed the point here. It is not that the inmates are made to work that is the issue it is the abuse they have suffered during the process that is the problem. I hope that even you would not justify such measures just because the inmates have committed a crime. Their punishment is jail it is not abuse.