Foxconn, the world's largest electronics contract manufacturer, admitted on Tuesday that it had employed interns as young as 14 years old at one of its factories in China.
The admission will likely draw further criticism of how the manufacturer of Apple's iPhone device is treating its workers. Foxconn has been struggling to make its operations compliant with Chinese labor laws, given both its own huge scale and deep-rooted habits of violation across the country's manufacturing sector.
Responding to Chinese media reports and a statement by China Labor Watch, a U.S.-based non-governmental organization, Foxconn said that an internal investigation had found some participants in a student internship program at its plant in Yantai in the eastern Chinese province of Shandong were under the legal working age of 16 years.
"Our investigation has shown that the interns in question, who ranged in age from 14 to 16, had worked in that campus for approximately three weeks," the company said. "This is not only a violation of China's labor law, it is also a violation of Foxconn policy, and immediate steps have been taken to return the interns in question to their educational institutions."