Tesco has halted production at a factory in China after a six-year-old girl found a message inside a charity Christmas card from an alleged prisoner ‘forced’ to work.
The girl, from Tooting in south London, found the disturbing note inside a card featuring a kitten wearing a Santa hat, after opening the box to write cards for her friends.
According to The Sunday Times, the message reads: “We are foreign prisoners in Shanghai Qinqpu prison China.
“Forced to work against our will. Please help us and notify human rights organisation.”
Tesco donates £300,000 each year from the sale of the cards to the British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK and Diabetes UK.
The card with the message on it had been made at Zheijiang Yunguang Printing, where it is understood an independent audit was conducted in November which found no concerns about forced labour.
A Tesco spokeswoman told PA that the company was “shocked” and had shut down operations at the facility.
“We would never allow prison labour in our supply chain,” she said.
“We were shocked by these allegations and immediately halted production at the factory where these cards are produced and launched an investigation.
“We have a comprehensive auditing system in place and this supplier was independently audited as recently as last month and no evidence was found to suggest they had broken our rule banning the use of prison labour.
“If evidence is found we will permanently de-list the supplier.”
The retailer has not received any complaints from customers about messages inside cards.