(BEIJING) — Foxconn Technology Group, the company that manufactures Apple’s iPhone, has confirmed reports that underage employees as young as 14 years old have been found working as interns at a factory site in China.
The company says the discovery was made during an internal investigation at its factory in Yantai.
“Our investigation has shown that the interns in question, who ranged in age from 14 to 16, had worked in that campus for approximately three weeks,” Foxconn said in a statement. The company did not mention how many underage interns were found.
The workers were part of a government-sponsored internship program for students who are at least 16 years old — the minimum age for employment in China. They have since been sent back to their schools.
Foxconn, which is owned by Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., says it has launched a full investigation into the matter.
“We recognize that full responsibility for these violations rests with our company and we have apologized to each of the students for our role in this action. Furthermore, any Foxconn employee found, through our investigation, to be responsible for these violations will have their employment immediately terminated,” the company said.
Foxconn is a major supplier of electronic components to large U.S. companies, including Apple and Microsoft. While it did not specify which products were produced in the Yantai factory, the company said the “facility has no association with any work we carry out on behalf of Apple.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Jethro Mullen Ivana Kottasova and Patrick Gillespie, CNN
Matt Egan, CNN
Kathryn Vasel, CNN
Matt McFarland, CNN