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China – Apple Finds Child Workers, Recruiter Forged Documents

28 January 2013

Technology giant Apple has found cases of child labour in its supply chain with a local recruitment company knowingly providing dozens of children to the Chinese circuit board manufacturer PZ, which was used by the firm. Apple has now terminated the contract with PZ.

The makers of the iPhone and iPad found 74 under-age workers working at the manufacturer’s plant. The children, all aged under 16, were provided by a regional recruitment firm which forged identity documents, Apple said. The children have now been sent back to their families.   

After carrying out almost 400 audits of its suppliers, Apple found several cases of child labour. It named the local recruitment firm Shenzhen Quanshun Human Resources Co Ltd as the supplier of the child workers.  

Apple’s investigation report found the following: “In many of the cases of underage labor we’ve discovered, the culprit behind the violation was a third-party labor agent that willfully and illegally recruited young workers. In January 2012, for example, we audited a supplier, Guangdong Real Faith Pingzhou Electronics Co., Ltd. (PZ) that produces a standard circuit board component used by many other companies in many industries. Our auditors were dismayed to discover 74 cases of workers under age 16—a core violation of our Code of Conduct. As a result, we terminated our business relationship with PZ.

“But we didn’t stop there. We also learned that one of the region’s largest labor agencies, Shenzhen Quanshun Human Resources Co., Ltd. (Quanshun) , which is registered in both the Shenzhen and Henan provinces, was responsible for knowingly providing the children to PZ. In fact, to obtain the workers, this agency conspired with families to forge age verification documents and make the workers seem older than they were.”

Apple wants to end any form of child labour in the technology manufacturing sector with senior vice-president of operations, Jeff Williams, telling Reuters: “We go deep in the supply chain to find it. “And when we do find it, we ensure that the under-age workers are taken care of, the suppliers are dealt with.”

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