In recent years, allegations have sprung up that teenagers can be found working in electronics factories. Children also help mine minerals used in electronic gear.

National Consumers League Expresses Concern over New Apple Inc. Child Labor Revelations

Apple Inc. announced today that its internal audits had found more than 106 underage employees at 11 different locations in its supply chain; it found another 70 “historical” cases of child labor. The company also said that it had terminated contracts with a Chinese supplier, Guangdong Real Faith Pingzhuou Electronics, which employed 74 workers under age 16. Auditors found eight facilities with “bonded labor” –cases in which workers were compelled to labor to pay off excessive recruiting fees.

The National Consumers League (NCL), the nation’s oldest consumer advocacy organization with a long history of working to reduce child labor in the U.S. and abroad, applauds the termination of supplier contracts that rely on the work of child labor. “After much criticism, it appears that Apple has finally stepped up auditing of its supply chain. We urge the company to continue on that path as aggressively as possible. With 1.5 million workers in 14 countries, the 106 children found working may be the tip of the iceberg,” noted NCL Executive Director Sally Greenberg who is a co-chair of the Child Labor Coalition, which represents 28 organizations, trying to eliminate the worst forms of child labor.

“Children should not be working in electronics manufacturing–with its accompanying dangers. They should be in school and allowed to realize their full potential,” added Greenberg. “Given  Apple’s enormous profitability, it’s essential the company does everything in its power to stamp out child labor. Other electronics companies should take warning, and conduct rigorous audits of their supply chains.”… Read the rest

Samsung to review 250 Chinese suppliers for labor violations

SEOUL | Tue Sep 4, 2012 4:28am IST

(Reuters) – Samsung Electronics Co said on Monday it would inspect 250 Chinese companies which make products for the South Korean firm to ensure no labor laws are broken after a U.S.-based group accused one of its suppliers of using child labor.

Samsung also said its audit into working conditions at an HEG Electronics facility in Huizhou in southern China found no under-aged workers. New York-based China Labor Watch said last month seven children younger than 16 were working in the factory that makes phones and DVD players for Samsung.

But Samsung said the audit identified several instances of inadequate management and potentially unsafe practices such as overtime beyond local regulations, improper safety measures and a system of fines for tardiness or absences.

“Samsung has demanded that HEG immediately improve its working conditions… If HEG fails to meet Samsung’s zero tolerance policy on child labor, the contract will be immediately severed,” Samsung said in a statement.

It said it would conduct inspections for all 105 supplier companies in China which produce goods solely for Samsung by the end of September, and review, via documentation, by the end of the year another 144 suppliers that makes products for it and other firms.

“If supplier companies are found to be in violation of our policies and corrective actions not taken, Samsung will terminate its contract with those supplier companies,” Samsung said.

The move follows allegations earlier this year that Apple Inc’s products were assembled in China amid multiple violations of labor law, including extreme hours.

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Apple Report Reveals Child Labor Increase

Tania Branigan in Beijing

Apple’s annual report says 91 children worked at its suppliers in 2010, and 137 workers were poisoned by n-hexane

Apple said it had strengthened its checks on age because of concerns about falsification.

Apple found more than 91 children working at its suppliers last year, nine times as many as the previous year, according to its annual report on its manufacturers.

The US company has also acknowledged for the first time that 137 workers were poisoned at a Chinese firm making its products and said less than a third of the facilities it audited were complying with its code on working hours.

Apple usually refuses to comment on which firms make its goods, but came under increased scrutiny last year following multiple suicides at electronics giant Foxconn, one of its main suppliers.

Last month, anti-pollution activists accused the firm of being more secretive about its supply chain in China than almost all of its rivals.

The report says Apple found 91 children working at 10 facilities. The previous year it found 11 at three workplaces.

It ordered most to pay the children’s education costs but fired one contractor which was using 42 minors and had “chosen to overlook the issue”, the company said. It also reported the vocational school that had arranged the employment to the authorities for falsifying student IDs and threatening retaliation against pupils who revealed their ages.

Apple said it had strengthened its checks on age because of concerns about the falsification of ages by such schools and labour agencies.… Read the rest