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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