A British retailer has come under fire after a 6-year-old customer reportedly found a note tucked inside one of its holiday cards that claimed to be from prisoners in China who are being forced to work against their will. Now, the company, Tesco, has suspended the factory where the cards are being produced and says they've launched an investigation.
According to British newspaper, The Sunday Times, a 6-year-old in London was preparing to send some of Tesco's charity Christmas cards to friends, when she discovered the note inside a box of cards. The card, which featured a kitten in a Santa hat, also contained a slip of paper with a message reading: "We are foreign prisoners in Shanghai Qingpu prison China. Forced to work against our will. Please help us and notify human rights organisation."
The card also urged the person who found the note to contact "Mr. Peter Humphrey."
The father of the 6-year-old googled the name and discovered a story about a former British journalist who'd spent time in the same Qingpu prison in China. At first, he believed the message might have been a prank.
"After some reflection we thought that if someone was genuinely desperate enough to write that card we should take it seriously," the 6-year-old's father, Ben Widdicombe told Sky News on Sunday.
In a statement provided to NBC News, Tesco says they've stopped selling the cards that were produced at that factory.
“We abhor the use of prison labour and would never allow it in our supply chain," a spokesperson for the company said. "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 a supplier breaches these rules, we will immediately and permanently de-list them," the spokesperson added.
The funds raised by Tesco's charity Christmas cards are donated to British health charities. Last year, the company donated about $390,000 from the sale of the cards.
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