Amazon's Alexa devices have turned out to have controversial roots. Reports revealed that hundreds of schoolchildren are tapped to make these gadgets.

These children are reportedly made to work long and grueling hours to meet the goals of Amazon supplier Foxconn.

Student Workers Deal With Heavy Labor, Rough Treatment

Based on leaked documents and interviews with workers, The Guardian found that schoolchildren have been working overtime and during nights to produce great volumes of the Alexa devices. Many of the cases are considered illegal under Chinese labor laws.

According to the report, Foxconn recruits teenagers ages 16 to 18 from schools surrounding the Hengyang city in China. These schoolchildren are called interns and their teachers are hired to supervise them during their shifts.

In China, factories are allowed to hire children from the age of 16. However, they are not supposed to work overtime or at nights.

According to China Labor Watch, the factory asks teachers to pressure interns into working overtime hours. Teachers are reported to verbally and physically attack interns with witnesses even spotting a teacher hitting one intern at one point.

Responsible Business Alliance states that work hours should be limited to 60 hours every week, which already includes overtime. However, data showed that 375 of Foxconn workers are violating this rule as of July 2019.

What The Companies, Students Say

For its part, Foxconn admitted that some of the operations are not in line with the country's legal laws. The company revealed that they have already doubled their oversight of the group's internship program with partner schools to stop making interns stay overtime and work night shifts.

"There have been instances in the past where lax oversight on the part of the local management team has allowed this to happen and, while the impacted interns were paid the additional wages associated with these shifts, this is not acceptable and we have taken immediate steps to ensure it will not be repeated," Foxconn added in a statement.

At the same time, Foxconn also pointed out that its decision to tap student workers helps schoolchildren of legal age with the opportunity to gain work experience and help their future career prospects.

However, student interviews revealed that the work they do in the factory has no relevance to their courses. Working conditions in the factory are also not ideal with teachers and managers warning students that their graduation and scholarship opportunities could be affected if they refuse overtime.

Amazon also made it clear that it does not tolerate violations of its code of conduct and it is currently investigating the situation.

"We are urgently investigating these allegations and addressing this with Foxconn at the most senior level. Additional teams of specialists arrived on-site yesterday to investigate, and we've initiated weekly audits of this issue," an Amazon spokesperson told The Guardian.

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