China Labor Watch Accuses Samsung Supplier of Hiring Child Labor

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After China Labor Watch accused Samsung manufacturing facilities of hiring underage workers, the electronics manufacturer conducted a four week audit of more than 105 of its suppliers. What it found was far from a clean slate – the audit dredged up overtime abuses and fines for being sick, amongst other things – but Samsung claimed that not a single example of child labor was uncovered.

Today, China Labor Watch sent around a report that begs to differ. The rights group claims to have uncovered 14- and 15-year-old girls working at HTNS Shenzhen Co., Ltd, a factory that assembles Samsung’s cell phones.

CLW claims that Wu Xiaolan, Lai Xiaomin, and Liu Tiantian – three workers at the facility – have all admitted to being under the legal working age of 16, and the organization’s investigator allegedly has audio recordings of the girls saying as much. The group also released the photograph below, of Tiantian’s factory ID (top) and alleged personal ID (bottom), which CLW says is a forgery.

“The factory uses labor dispatch companies to hire a portion of its workers,” the CLW report explains. “Some of these companies, for their own economic interests, will create fraudulent IDs in order to get child labor into HTNS, and HTNS doesn’t carry out strict verifications.”

China Labor Watch alleges that the trio --along with the rest of HTNS Shenzhen’s workers -- was forced to work mandatory 13 hour days at "sub-minimum overtime wages." CLW also claims that the facility fails to meet legal employee safety standards, engages in hiring discrimination against people over 40, and places undue pressure and paperwork on employees who wish to resign, among other concerns.

The group presented its findings to Samsung before releasing them to the press. CLW says that Samsung sent investigators to talk to the girls, but Lei Xiaomin and Wu Xiaolan "are apparently no longer working at HTNS."

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