IKEA Apologizes for Using Forced Labor to Manufacture Its Furniture

Swedish ready-to-assemble furniture maker IKEA today finally acknowledged that a report claiming forced labor had been used in the manufacturing of its products in East Germany during the '70s and '80s was correct.

"We are deeply sorry that this could happen," IKEA exec Jeanette Skjelmose said in a statement. "Using political prisoners in production has never been accepted within the Ikea Group."

Back in April, an investigative program aired by Sweden's national television broadcaster first brought to light IKEA's Cold War-era employment of East German political prisoners. The furniture giant denied the allegations, but after an Earnst and Young investigation commissioned by IKEA confirmed the report, the company relented.

"[There are] indications that political prisoners and convicts were partly involved in producing parts or pieces of furniture that were delivered to Ikea 25 or 30 years ago," IKEA said in its own report. "In addition, the investigation showed there were Ikea managers who were aware of the possibility that political prisoners would be used to manufacture Ikea products in the former East Germany."

The company goes on to blame the lack of a "well-organised control system," which led to ineffective measures "to prevent this type of production method."

[photo via AP]