According to The Information, several Apple suppliers in China use forced labour for various works such as assembling and manufacturing of devices and its components. The publication reportedly worked with two human rights groups and found that seven companies that work with Apple supported forced labour.
Out of the seven companies that support the use of forced labour, six of them reportedly participate in work related programs offered by the Chinese government. According to The Information, the human rights groups describe the programs as offering cover for the forced labour being used for the works.
Minority of the Chinese population forced
The work programs by the Chinese government reportedly target the minority population of the country. Uyghur Muslims are the minority population of China and they are reportedly forced to work and it was also previously reported by PBS that they are held in detention centers run by the Chinese government. The Information adds that if the workers refuse to work, they are jailed as a punishment and those that agree to work are usually transferred to sites far from their home.
The companies that use forced labour for production reportedly supplied Apple various components such as antennas, coatings, and cables. They also reportedly also worked with Apple to provide the company with other products and different services, according to The Information.
Upon investigation, Apple says it found no evidence of forced labour being used for any of the supply chains its contract manufacturers or components suppliers run. An Apple spokesperson told The Information that it specifically looks if any forced labour is being used by any of its contract manufacturers during every assessment. “We will continue doing all we can to protect workers and ensure they are treated with dignity and respect,” the spokesperson added.
It is important to note that not only Apple relies on Chinese suppliers for the majority of its products. Other major tech companies such as Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and Facebook also rely on Chinese suppliers.