Chinese schoolchildren were illegally forced to work extra hours at the Foxconn factory in Hengyang province to produce Amazon’s Alexa devices, The Guardian reported on August 8.
The investigation, carried out by the labour rights group China Labor Watch, found out that over 1,000 children aged from 16 to 18 were employed as interns at the Foxconn plant. Although hiring students older than 16 is legal in China, these interns were reportedly forced to work overnight.
The documents discovered by China Labor Watch show that schools were paid for sending interns to the facility and persuading them to work overtime. If they refused to work the extra hours, they were forced to sign a resignation letter. Moreover, some of them were threatened that refusing to work could affect their graduation.
Foxconn acknowledged that its use of overtime child labour is illegal in a letter to Business Insider. The company is allegedly already taking action to rectify the situation. However, the factory insists that the original internship program was legal and was created to give students work experience.
Amazon, in turn, also launched an investigation into the case. The corporation has sent a team to the facility to look into the situation.
The company’s shares have reacted negatively to the news, closing down by 1.25% on Monday, August 12.