Following allegations that a Samsung supplier used child labour in its factories, and an audit by Samsung which turned up no such thing, the claims are back. According to China Labour Watch there were definitely at least three underaged girls working for Samsung supplier HTNS Shenzhen Co. Samsung says otherwise.
The three underage workers allegedly found were a year or two under the minimum legal age of 16, despite having falsified IDs that listed them as old enough for the work. According to China Labor Watch, labour dispatch companies that are hired to round up workers at the plants will sometimes falsify documents in order to slip child workers past a company's rather lax vetting process for their own gain. So it's not like HTNS was out looking to hire kids, but they may not have been trying hard enough not to.
South China Managing Director of HTNS, Han Jang Seok has said otherwise however. He told Bloomberg "it is impossible for us to hire child labour," citing involved verification procedures that the China Labor Watch report suggests may not be involved enough.
Meanwhile, Samsung claims to have verified that there were not in fact any underage workers at the plant, releasing a statement today that:
"We have confirmed that there are no underage workers employed [at HTNS]. Samsung holds itself and its supplier companies to the highest standards and maintains a zero tolerance policy on child labour."
Whatever the case may be regarding the underage workers, Samsung's previous audits confirm that working conditions at many of its plants aren't exactly great in plenty of other ways. It's something to think about the next time you're mildly frustrated with your magic pocket computer. [China Labor Watch via Bloomberg]