Consumer electronics giant Foxconn has confessed to employing children under the age of 16 years old in one of its Chinese factories, according to reports fromReuters.
Allegations against Foxconn, the largest contract-based electronics manufacturer in the world, were first raised by labor rights advocates. After an internal investigation, the company announced it found violations in its Yantai plant, where ‘interns’ as young as 14 years old had been hired. Chinese law states no workers under the age of 16 may be hired. Xinhua, the official news agency of China, claims Foxconn resorted to these tactics to make up for a 19,000 employee shortage.
“We recognize that full responsibility for these violations rests with our company and we have apologized to each of the students for our role in this action… 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 said in a statement. Xinhua, citing anonymous sources, stated that as many as 56 children have returned home from the ‘internship program,’ which makes up 2.7% of Foxconn’s 1.2 million person workforce.
Foxconn, perhaps best known for its fabrication of Apple hardware, has also been hired by Nintendo to manufacture Wii U. The firm has come under intense scrutiny in recent years following several employee suicides, and a employee riot that broke out last month.