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Foxconn, a Taiwanese multinational electronics manufacturing company, has officially admitted that it hired under-aged children workers illegally for its factory in China.
According to Foxconn’s statement released on October 16, its factory in Shantung area, China, hired children aged from 14 to 16, and they worked there for three weeks. It was the first time that the giant manufacturing company admitted that they hired children. The New York Times and several Chinese media have reported that Foxconn might hire children to reduce its labor cost, but the manufacturing company has denied or kept silent about it.
Foxconn said through its statement, “We are going to take a responsibility of breaching the Chinese labor laws and company’s internal regulations by hiring underage workers, and we already sent all children back to their school.” However, when it comes to the question whether other factories of Foxconn hired under-aged children or not, Foxconn did not give any specific answer, and it also did not show how many children were hired illegally and which schools were involved.
Foxconn’s statement was quite shocking for people worldwide because the electronics manufacturing company was involved in controversies related to how it manages employees in China early of this year, making Apple hire the Fair Labor Association to conduct an audit of working conditions at Foxconn factories.
Even though Foxconn admitted its wrongdoing, strong doubts about whether other factories in Jiangsu and Huaian areas in China hired under-aged children illegally or not have been raised. According to the US-based non-governmental organization China Labor Watch (CLW), Foxconn’s Shantung factory hired about 2,000 under-aged students in September, and they were forced to work all night every day. CLW said even some of children were not allowed to take a break even though they were sick.
The Korean daily newspaper, Chosun Ilbo, reported that the number of children workers in China has been decreased since 1980s, but it is estimated that about three million children are still forced to work at restaurants or factories in rural areas or small cities in China.
The newspaper also pointed out that the lack of labor forces in southern China is one of the main reasons why children are forced to work these days. The living expenses of this area have been soared lately, and this makes people in other parts of China not willing to move to this area, causing the lack of labor forces.