What happens when Apple finds a child making your iPhone

“There are more than 1.5 million workers making products for Apple, and some of them are children,” Tim Fernholz reports for Quartz. “The company knows this, and it will tell you: In 2013, it audited 451 different facilities in 16 countries, and found 23 people who had been hired when they were younger than 16. Eleven were still underage at the time of the audit. In all of its publicly available audits, from 2006 to 2013, the company has found 349 child laborers.”

“What happens after they are found?” Fernholz reports. “[Apple] executives decided to adopt a program designed in 2008 by Impactt, a social-responsibility consultancy based in the UK that operates in China, India, and Bangladesh. The plan calls for Apple to make any transgressing supplier pay not only for the education of any child laborers it is found using, but also keep paying them wages until they graduate (thus removing their incentive to stay out of school). Apple follows up with the former workers to ensure they are still in school.”

“The idea is to deter suppliers from hiring children, while making sure any they do hire end up back in school. Dionne Harrison, who manages these programs for Impactt, says her local staff go to the factory to meet the workers, figure out their actual age and, eventually, meet their families, in an effort to convince them to go back to school,” Fernholz reports. “It sounds like a good deal. Yet most of the time, the young workers don’t take it.”

Read more in the full article here.

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43 Comments

          1. My name is Predrag; not Drag.

            As a foreigner, it has been quite amusing to follow the “birthers” movement in America. In many ways it is similar to the “Flat Earth” society (at least to those who genuinely believe in it); no matter how many ways you show them the truth, they will continue to believe their own story.

            1. Well, not so much, although America has outsized influence on the world (due to its military, and to an extent, economic power), so yes, to a certain extent, I am sometimes concerned about what happens in American society and politics, because it often has profound effect on others.

              When Bill Clinton was caught with his member in the mouth of an intern, he chose to distract the nation by bombing the $h!t out of another nation (Serbia) in 1999. GWB wanted to finish his daddy’s job (getting rid of Sadam Hussein), so he made up a story about weapons of mass destruction to convince his people to let him bomb and invade Iraq.

              So, yes, while technically it should be none of my concern, it actually often is.

            2. Ignore botvinnk…he’s had way too much of the Fox New Kool-Aid, and thankfully is NOT repesentaive of tr average American in his idiotic conspiracy theories and lunacy.

            3. Well, we’re not perfect. How about all you folks in Europe? You don’t seem to be able to get along with your neighbors very well. Many of you have, at least at one time, been very happy that we came over and helped out or you would all be speaking German. Hopefully we let you fend for yourselves in the future. And let’s face it, we send billions of dollars to most of you in aid. That needs to stop today. You should fend for yourselves. You’re all grown up now. You’re certainly much older than us. Fight your own wars and earn your own living. Hell you could probably fit most of Europe in California. You’re not very big are you? But we have enough problems of our own here in California. And we won’t be asking you for financial aid anytime soon. Or to fight our battles for us. We would like to send you Jerry Brown though. He’d fit in with most of you socialists. And Americans really should stop visiting Europe. We can spend those billions of dollars exploring our own country. And we should keep our corn, soybeans, wheat etc. Grow your own shit. Before long we won’t need to import anyone’s oil so keep your own oil. Oh wait, you don’t have any oil. Oops. You guys are dependent upon us whether you like it or not. You shouldn’t bite the hand that feeds and protects you. But many of you do. Every day. So don’t plan to visit or to move here. Stay where you are. We can do without you. You could start sending some of the billions and billions and billions and billions of dollars that we have loaned over the decades. Do all of you speak Russian?

            4. Give it a rest. China could your card tomorrow and your entire nation would be broke overnight. Try to understand your dependencies before you lecture anyone else on how they may be dependent on you.

            5. Predrag has a lot more sense than buttvinnik. But don’t waste your time arguing with him, Predrag. He repeats himself, somehow thinks he is humorous, and will never, ever change his mind. He just likes baiting reasonable people by spouting extremist cr@p.

            6. Hey Predrag, there was never a ‘peace treaty’ with Iraq from the first Iraq war, only an agreement of ‘cessation of hostilities’ which Iraq voided when they began firing surface to air missiles at US aircraft patrolling the no fly zones. If I were in President Bush’s shoes, I wouldn’t have needed WMD’s true or not you flat Earther, to go back into Iraq. I would have gone back solely for Iraq starting it up again and I wouldn’t have finished until a bunker buster found the spider hole Saddam had crawled into and gave him his 72 virgins!

            7. Those of us outside the US have to continually put up with the politicised rantings of posters on here about how much of a Communist Obama is, (he isn’t, by any standards you care to apply), and the continual sniping between the two main political parties, so, by default, you’re making it our business, whether we want it or not.
              If you don’t want gaijin* commenting, then here’s a suggestion: shut the fuck up about party politics, Obama, and anything else that isn’t directly concerned with Apple or the legal machinations of its competitors.
              It’s none of our concern, and thus it should be kept out of a forum that has many international readers.
              *I have a number of Japanese friends; it’s a joke between us.

            8. You got my vote, Rorschach! Please disregard buttvinnik. He is part of a small, deluded, vocal minority who does not speak for the majority in any way, shape, or form.

            9. I forgot to thank you, I recall now, you were there. How long ago was it again, at least a couple of years now….5-6 maybe even….

              I bet that you once helped an old lady cross the street and you let no opportunity go to waste reminiscing……

      1. “If they aren’t being forced, who cares!”

        Exactly! Even worse is, these imbeciles trying to shove their regulations (in this case very stupid thinking) onto other countries. What can be considered underage in the U.S. may not be considered underage in other countries.

        If a supplier is violating any labor law/regulation in that country it is a problem for the regulators in that country; what a nagging insistence of pocking their nose where it doesn’t belong.

        “The plan calls for Apple to make any transgressing supplier pay not only for the education of any child laborers it is found using”

        Who do they think they are? If they find a supplier incurring in what they think is underage labor, they should drop that supplier or not hire that supplier in the first place.

        Apple should focus on making the best products in the most effective manner and with the least damage to society in general. They should leave labor regulation issues to local authorities and regulators.

        The most Apple should be doing, and it likely is, establish some labor policies, standards, practices for suppliers to comply (which could be fine tuned or localized to each country) and if they don’t comply Apple should just stop using that supplier and/or report those incidents to local authorities AND MOVE ON.

        That role of “Lady of Charity” is not what Apple should be doing.

    1. In addition, the concept of “under 16” is often based on American principles. In China they calculate age based on year only, not year, month, day calculations. Often a person will be 15 years and 8 months old but when you do the math by year only you get the number 16. That is the normal math there but when audited by American standards you get “under 16”.

  1. What happens when Apple finds a child making your iPhone? They give her:
    —if completed under 48 seconds, a cookie;
    —if completed over 48 seconds, a beating.

  2. Not condoning child abuse but if ever go to Asia (I was just there for 3 weeks a few months ago and worked there for 10 years in my youth), you’ll see kids working everywhere: in roadside stalls helping to sell food, cleaning etc. Kids work everywhere in their family businesses or farms. school in many Asian countries are ‘half’ day as they run two sessions (not enough schools) , so plenty of time for kids to work.

    Even in N.America plenty of ‘kids’ work in family businesses like restaurants and farms. Go ask a farm kid whether they had to ‘help out’ before they were 15…

    I have a (yoga meditating ashram living — pure vegan doesn’t even eat diary ) friend who used to work as an aid worker distributing food etc to homeless kids in asia and Africa (in some African countries there are thousands in a single city). One place in Northern India\Pakistan he was swarmed by angry kids. Some brain dead Western ‘labour activists’ had forced the closing down of a rug factory and put all these kids out of work. they were helping to feed their starving families. “Why are Westerners so evil?” the kids asked. Even my ashram friend cursed those ‘liberal’ idiots… According to him clueless people should stay where they are and don’t interfere unless they really know what they are doing…

    In many places of the world people eat one meal a day….
    some places are better, people live reasonably ok in Cuba where the average salary a month is around $15 -20 (yeah, fifteen). (compare that to a Chinese foxconn average of $400 a month before overtime and you can see the incentive to forge papers… )

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