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Apple Audit Reveals 106 Cases of Underage Labor in China

Illustration for article titled Apple Audit Reveals 106 Cases of Underage Labor in China

Apple has released its seventh annual supplier audit and it reveals that one of its suppliers—Guangdong Real Faith Pingzhou Electronics—was found to violate its underage labor policy 74 times. Unsurprisingly, Apple was clear about the consequences of such a problems, and has completely severed ties with the manufacturer.

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Reading through the report, it appears that a local staffing firm, Shenzhen Quanshun Human Resources, was responsible for supplying the children to the manufacturer. In the process, the staffing firm helped families forge age verification documents. In total, 11 factories were found to have employed underage workers, with 106 cases currently being investigated.

Elsewhere, Apple is attempting to crack down on bonded labor: a process through which foreign workers are made to pay exorbitant recruitment fees in their home countries. Eight facilities were found to be exercising the practice, which saw employees paying up to a month's worth of wages per year in the process. In total, payments of $6.4 million were made—something that Apple claims to be fighting against.

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There are, of course, plenty of other issues that Apple is striving to improve: cutting extreme cases of overtime, stamping out abuse, and providing better working conditions amongst them. If you want to read more about those practices, you should go read Apple's report.

Regardless of all the promises Apple seems to be making, it is at least reassuring that Cook and co. do seem to be taking the whole thing seriously: 2013 saw the company carry out 393 audits, for instance, a rise of 72 percent on 2012. Apple has a long way to go, of course, but it's clearly sending out a message that it won't turn a blind eye. [Apple via Verge]

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DISCUSSION

Apple built its empire on a single innovation and cheap non automated labour in Taiwan and elsewhere. Perversely they could have automated production in the US - shows the distaste they have for American workers. Single innovation has been surpassed and automated production lines will reduce costs for competitors far faster than Apple. Also, walled gardens will become less and less attractive to consumers. Still a wealthy company though.