Apple Audit: Child Labor Took Place in Some Factories

Filed under: In The News

An audit by Apple -- maker of the iPhone -- found 15-year-olds were working in some of its factories. Credit: Justin Sullivan, Getty


That new iPhone might be lots of fun and oh-so-chic. But it turns out it might have been manufactured by children.

Apple, a company that has carefully crafted an image as king of cool, says that during an audit of its suppliers, the company found at least 11 workers were 15-year-olds toiling in factories that supply Apple, according to the London Telegraph.

Most Apple products are put together in China, but the company did not say where the underage workers were located.

At the time of the audit, the minors were no longer working underage nor were they working at the factories, according to Apple's report. The company also has suppliers with factories in the United States, Taiwan, Singapore, the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand and the Czech Republic. Workers in the faulted factories were supposed to be 16 years old and are now in compliance, according to the report.

Apple says its factories must follow a "Superior Code of Conduct" and says it goes to great lengths to ensure the health and safety of its workers. But the report found a number of potentially embarrassing problems at its manufacturing plants.

Many of the its factories were working employees beyond Apple's time of 60 hours per week, the Telegraph reports. And at least one factory had falsified records to hide underage workers.

UNICEF estimates there are 158 million child laborers between the ages of 5 and 14 throughout the world, which averages out to one in six children world wide.

"Millions of children are engaged in hazardous situations or conditions," according to the organization.

It may be too soon to know if the news of the underage workers takes the sheen off some of the hottest electronic gadgets on the shelves. But for now, Apple continues to cruise along: The company recently announced its iTunes store just topped the 10 billion mark of songs sold.

Related: Were Octo-Mom's Newborns Mistreated as actors? Labor Commish Says Maybe

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.