The China Labor Watch recently published a report in which it said it found Foxconn had employed workers between the ages of 14 and 16 last summer to serve as interns within the company. Foxconn may not have been entirely at fault, since schools sent the children to work for the company, but the manufacturer also should have checked the ages of the employees first. The full statement from the China Labor Watch follows below:
According to China Labor Watch’s investigations and Chinese media reports, it has been confirmed that Foxconn Yantai employed interns under 16 years old. A small number of student interns employed in the summer were between 14 to 16 years old. Now Foxconn has begun to send those underage interns back to school. These underage interns were mainly sent to Foxconn by schools, but Foxconn did not check the IDs of these young interns. The schools involved in this incident should take primary responsible, but Foxconn is also culpable for not confirming the ages of their workers. China Labor Watch calls on the Chinese government to improve the current intern system of Chinese schools.
Foxconn admitted wrongdoing on its part. “This is not only a violation of China’s labor law, it is also a violation of Foxconn policy and immediate steps have been taken to return the interns in question to their educational institutions,” Foxconn told CNET in a statement. “We are also carrying out a full investigation, in cooperation with the respective educational institutions, to determine how this happened and the actions that must be taken by our company to ensure that it can never happen again.” Several reports suggested the children were forced to work overtime in order to finish assignments given to them by the school.
Foxconn has long been the target of labor watch associations. The Fair Labor Association conducted a review of Foxconn’s factories in March and found excessive overtime, health and safety risks. Apple, which employs Foxconn to build its products, has said it will work with the company to improve working conditions.