Illegal Student Labor May Have Assembled Your Shiny New iPhone X

Student labor is not illegal in China. Volunteers get paid to work in manufacturing industries and interns are prohibited to work more than 40 hours per week. But that wasn't the case here.

iPhone X in New York

Your brand new - and expensive - iPhone X may have been manufactured via student labor exploitation, according to new reports.

Apple supplier Foxconn has been using high school students to work extra hours to help assemble the iPhone X, the Financial Times has found.

The publication interviewed at least six teenagers who worked among a group of nearly 3,000 students from Zhengzhou Urban Rail Transit School.

Student labor is not illegal in China. In fact, teenagers get paid to work in manufacturing industries and their placements must be voluntary. They are prohibited, though, from working more than 40 hours per week.

However, that wasn't the case with the students assembling iPhone X under Foxconn.

The six students, aged between 17-19, interviewed by the Financial Times claimed they were routinely made to work 11 hours a day.

In a statement, Apple (sort of) confirmed the claims in the report.

“During the course of a recent audit, we discovered instances of student interns working overtime at a supplier facility in China. We’ve confirmed the students worked voluntarily, were compensated and provided benefits, but they should not have been allowed to work overtime.”

“Apple is dedicated to ensuring everyone in our supply chain is treated with the dignity and respect they deserve. We know our work is never done and we’ll continue to do all we can to make a positive impact and protect workers in our supply chain.”

Foxconn told the Financial Times while “all work was voluntary and compensated appropriately,” “the interns did work overtime in violation of our policy” - which essentially means students were exploited to make iPhones.

This isn't the first time Apple and Foxconn have been criticized for labor exploitation. In fact, they have been accused of human rights violations against their workers for several years now. In order to make iPhones, workers at factories were not only made to work extra hours, but also exhausted to the extent that at least a 17 people reportedly committed suicide at a Foxconn plant in Shenzhen.

Thumbnail Credits : Bobby Yip/Reuters

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