Samsung, the world’s largest smartphone maker, has temporarily closed one of its factories in China after finding evidence that its supplier, Dongguan Shinyang Electronics, was using child labor. The moves comes after China Labor Watch (CLW) accused Dongguan of hiring underage workers, forcing them to work as long as 11 hours a day, and denying all overtime pay.
Following the report released last week, Samsung launched its own investigation into the factory and has decided to temporarily suspend business. The South Korean electronics giant said in a statement that it had audited Dongguan Shinyang on three separate occasions since 2013, most recently on June 25, 2014, and had not found any labor abuses.
However, in a subsequent follow-up, the company “found evidences [sic] of illegal hiring process that took place on June 29,” it said. CLW’s undercover investigator had been working in the factory and its report mentions underage recruiting on June 30.
Shinyang employs over 600 people and is one of many plants in the manufacturing hub of Dongguan in China’s southern province of Guangzhou where clothing, shoes, and other low-cost goods are made for export. Teenage workers at Dongguan Shinyang told the New York Times that they were part of a “labor dispatch system” in which children are hired by agencies that recruit in poor regions to work during factories’ busy seasons, ahead of the fall and winter holiday shopping seasons in the United States and Europe.