Samsung to investigate child labor claims at factory

Company is sending its own team to HEG Electronics to determine whether the supplier is guilty of child labor abuses.

Samsung's Galaxy S III smartphone
Samsung's Galaxy S III smartphone Josh Miller/CNET

Samsung has already sprung into action in response to accusations that its HEG Electronics supplier is forcing underage children to work under harsh conditions.

The Korean handset maker is sending a team this week to the HEG Electronics factory in Huizhou, China, to conduct its own investigation, according to The Verge. This would be Samsung's third probe of the facility; the first two failed to turn up any issues.

HEG Electronics, which makes DVD players and mobile phones for Samsung, has been accused by China Labor Watch of employing children under 16 .

A new report from CLW found that children work the same 11 to 13 hours per day as adults do but are paid less. Employees also are given just 40 minutes per day to eat, while the meals and dormitory conditions are described as "appalling."

CNET contacted Samsung for comment and will update the story when we get more information.

The company sent the following statement to The Verge:

Samsung Electronics has conducted two separate on-site inspections on HEG's working conditions this year but found no irregularities on those occasions. A team of inspectors consisting of Samsung personnel from Korea headquarters will be dispatched to Huizhou, China on August 9, and it will immediately launch an investigation and take appropriate measures to correct any problems that may surface. Samsung Electronics is a company held to the highest standards of working conditions and we try to maintain that at our facilities and the facilities of partner companies around the world.

China Labor Watch previously investigated Apple supplier Foxconn over poor working conditions. The new report on HEG says that conditions at its facility are "well below" those at Foxconn.

About the author

Journalist, software trainer, and Web developer Lance Whitney writes columns and reviews for CNET, Computer Shopper, Microsoft TechNet, and other technology sites. His first book, "Windows 8 Five Minutes at a Time," was published by Wiley & Sons in November 2012.


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