Samsung has suspended business with a Chinese supplier accused of using child workers.Five underage staff were found in the Shinyang Electronic factory in Dongguan, according to a report by rights group China Labour Watch (CLW).
The report was published last week, and was followed the next day by a New York Times interview with three 14 and 15-year-old girls it said worked at the factory.
Samsung initially dismissed the report as impossible to confirm, but now says it has found evidence to support the accusation.
In a statement, the South Korean company said: “Samsung decided to temporarily suspend business with the factory in question as it found evidence of suspected child labour at the work site.
“If the investigations conclude that the supplier indeed hired children illegally, Samsung will permanently halt business with the supplier.”
Samsung said it appeared that the workers had been hired on June 29, four days after a labour audit ended.
It is the first time Samsung has reported finding evidence of underage workers at its suppliers.
It has previously promised to eliminate such practices by the end of 2012, in response to earlier CLW allegations.
A spokesman for the firm said: “We deeply care about the health and safety of all our employees and employees at our suppliers, and strictly maintain a zero tolerance policy on child labour.
“We are urgently looking into the latest allegations and will take appropriate measures in accordance with our policies to prevent any cases of child labour in our suppliers.”
Apple’s latest annual audit, meanwhile, reported 23 instances of child labour.
It ordered the companies in question to compensate the children and pay for their education.