Samsung has decided to halt its working relationship with the Dongguan Shinyang factory following an investigation by human rights group China Labor Watch.
The group went undercover in the company and talked with several child workers. In the course of their investigation, China Labor Watch found out how underage workers are recruited via targeting smaller, poorer villages and how these illegal workers find their around Samsung’s face recognition measures. The young workers were also able to get false documents and identification.
The investigation turned up five children working in the company without mandatory contracts. Already having a history of issues with human rights involving overworking employees, shorting them on pay, and similar situations of child workers, Samsung was quick to cut ties with the Dongguan-based factory.
There is currently an investigation into the factory by government officials ongoing. Samsung’s rival Apple also found itself in a publicity nightmare of its own following allegations that a feature of its iOS 7 could be a back door to leaking personal information and government secrets.
Both situations are ones where explaining away the negative episode probably won’t be enough. In the case of Samsung it’s not just that there were children working on parts for their devices, it’s how much Samsung knew about child workers in their business partner’s factory and if they signed off on bringing them on knowingly.