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In the audit, Apple discovered a conspiracy between one of its suppliers, Guangdong Real Faith Pingzhou Electronics, and a local staffing firm, Shenzhen Quanshun Human Resources, in hiring underage workers. The staffing firm helped families to forge age verification documents and the audit discovered 11 factories that were employing underage workers. In total, 106 cases are currently being investigated.
In the Supplier Responsibility report, Apple said "The children were returned to their families, and PZ was required to pay expenses to facilitate their successful return."
In recent months, worker conditions in the electronics industry has had a lot of media attention and, as a result, companies like Apple and Samsung have promised to do more to prevent the violations. Jeff Williams, Apple's senior vice president of operations, told Bloomberg: "Underage labor is a subject no company wants to be associated with, so as a result I don't believe it gets the attention it deserves, and as a result it doesn't get fixed like it should."
Throughout the year, Apple conducted 393 audits across its supply chain, which is up 72% from 2011. The audits included environmental inspections, process safety assessments and targeted bonded labor audits.