Belarus: Ikea subcontractors resort to forced labour in Belarus prisons

The Baggebo bookcase, the Kullen chest of drawers and the Brimness bed: all these flagship items manufactured by Ikea, the furniture giant, have something in common. Until the beginning of the war in Ukraine, they were made in one of the world’s most brutal dictatorships, Belarus.

Our investigation shows that at least ten of Ikea’s Belarusian suppliers – or nearly half of its main partners – had ties with penal colonies over the past ten years. These are forced labour camps that are particularly brutal, known for practising torture as well as food and healthcare deprivation, the exact opposite of the values flaunted by the Swedish firm. In its mission statement, the furniture giant guarantees to its customers that it does not resort to “forced labour” or “prison labour” to make its goods.