Chinese technology manufacturer Foxconn has admitted hiring children as young as 14 to work in its factories.
Reuters reports that Foxconn has admitted to the discovery some interns” at its Yantai plant who were aged between 14-16. Said the company: "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."
Reports from Chinese media suggest that as many as 56 children have been identified and are due to return to school.
The focus now shifts to Foxconn’s major partners. If the manufacturer is unable to get its house in order then the burden of decency falls upon its partners.
Apple’s is Foxconn’s biggest contractor, though other partners include Dell, Sony Corp and Nintendo, for which the firm is currently building Wii U units.
"Nintendo is in communication with Foxconn and is investigating the matter,” a statement released to IGN reads. We take our responsibilities as a global company very seriously and are committed to an ethical policy on sourcing, manufacture and labour. In order to ensure the continued fulfilment of our social responsibility throughout our supply chain, we established the Nintendo CSR Procurement Guidelines in July 2008.
We require that all production partners, including Foxconn, comply with these Guidelines, which are based on relevant laws, international standards and guidelines. If we were to find that any of our production partners did not meet our guidelines, we would require them to modify their practices according to Nintendo’s policy.”