And then there's Apple, the largest public company in the world. It's also one of the most secretive, but even so, it's been caught engaging in evil. Apple is one of the most notorious tech names when it comes to child labor and inhumane working conditions. It's been tied to child labor in Africa, and the Chinese factories where its phones are assembled are frequently cited over illegal and lethal practices. At least nine workers at Apple's key factory partner, Foxconn Technology Group, committed suicide in 2010, prompting international outrage. Yet just this year, Bloomberg found iPhone assembly workers in the Catcher Technology Co. factory were required to stand for up to 10 hours a day in heinous conditions, handling chemicals, dealing with loud machines and being exposed to minuscule metal particles without proper masks, gloves, goggles or earplugs. After their shifts, employees lived in dirty dorms without showers or hot water.
More than 200 workers from a single Samsung production line had died or fallen seriously ill.
Apple isn't the only tech company to work with Foxconn or Catcher, and it isn't the only one accused of encouraging inhumane assembly lines. In 2016, the AP reported more than 200 workers from a single Samsung production line had died or fallen seriously ill, many being diagnosed with leukemia, lymphoma and MS, despite being relatively young -- in their 20s and early 30s. Samsung has denied any involvement in the lethal trend.
There's a simple reason major tech companies often look the other way after these scandals, brushing concerns aside as they continue to work with factories known for employing children and operating in barbaric ways. It's necessity. In order to remain competitive, Apple needs 200 million new iPhones with each updated model, and the most profitable way to make that happen is to partner with Foxconn or Catcher. In Apple's math, the bottom line outweighs the well-being of workers on the assembly line.