Foxconn denies forced labor reports, claims interns can leave any time

iPhone 5 Production Foxconn

Foxconn (2038) has denied recent reports that claim the company is forcing Chinese university students to assemble iPhones at one of its plants. The manufacturing giant revealed in a statement to Bloomberg that a recent audit by the Fair Labor Association found no evidence that any interns were pressured to participate at Foxconn’s factories in China. The company said that in the past it has partnered with “a number of” vocational schools in China for various internship programs ranging in length from one to six months.

While interns represent an average of 2.7% of its Chinese workforce, Foxconn claims students are not forced into the program. “Students are free to leave the internship program at any time,” the company said. The Huai’an government said in a statement that interns who didn’t want to work at the Foxconn plant were allowed to return to their schools, adding that all internship programs must be based on the willingness of students.

One anonymous student claimed, however, that some institutions would punish students who had tried to leave the factory.

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