Apple, Samsung, Sony and a bunch of other tech companies have been accused by the Human rights organisation Amnesty of failing to ensure that the minerals used in their products are not mined by children. As per a report from the Human Rights organisation, Amnesty claims that it found seven-year old children working in dangerous conditions in the Republic of Congo.
Most of these children were working on mining cobalt, which is a key component of lithium-ion batteries. The report from Amnesty quotes a 14-year-old orphan, Paul, who has spent up to 24 hours in mining tunnels at a stretch. The report indicates that as many as up to 40,000 children in the southern Republic of Congo are involved in mining.
Apple has already replied to the accusations from Amnesty by saving that it never tolerates underage labour in its supply chain and that it its proud “to have led the industry in pioneering new safeguards.” It further added that it conducts regular audits to ensure that child labor is not involved in its supply chain. If Apple catches one of its suppliers using underage workers, the supplier is forced to either fund the safe return of the child; finance his education; continue to pay his wages; or lastly, offer him/her a job when they reach the legal age to work.
Apple has constantly come under the scanner for the working environment not only in its factories, but also of its suppliers. The company releases an yearly Supplier Responsibility Progress report where it reveals the information and conditions it comes across in factories of its suppliers as discovered in security audits. It also mentions the name of companies that it drops from its supply chain due to them not following proper rules.
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