// Tesco stops selling Christmas cards after slave labour allegations
// A note was found in a Christmas card by a six-year-old schoolgirl which alleged that it was packed using forced labour
Tesco has stopped selling Christmas cards after a six-year-old girl found a message in the charity Christmas cards alleging it was packed using forced labour.
The Big 4 leader said it has halted the production of Christmas cards close to a printing business near the jail where an inmate smuggled out an anonymous message, which was found by the South London schoolgirl, Florence Widdicombe, The Sunday Times reported.
“We are foreign prisoners in Shanghai Qingpu prison. Forced to work against our will. Please help us and notify human rights organisation,” the handwritten note said.
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The note also urged to contact Peter Humphrey, a former journalist who spent 23 months imprisoned at the same Qingpu prison.
Florence’s father, Ben, a civil servant, used Linkedin to track down Humphrey, who said that he had previously seen Tesco gift labels being made at the jail.
Tesco sources told The Sunday Times that they had found no evidence of prisoners working on Christmas cards.
The grocer said it was “shocked” by the allegations and had decided to suspend production at the factory that produced the cards, and withdraw the cards from sale, while an investigation took place.
Meanwhile, Humphrey, who stayed in touch with inmates and former prisoners from the wing, said that the situation had worsened since he was jailed there between 2013 and 2015.
Foreign prisoners were then allowed to receive about £50 a month, enough to buy basic necessities.
Now monthly overseas income has been cut to under £20.
The cards were produced at Zhejiang Yuanguang Printing, about 60 miles from the prison. Tesco’s latest regular independent audit, conducted last month, did not raise concerns about the use of prison labour.