In a new investigation of the deplorable labor conditions at the Foxconn factories in China, Arun Gupta reveals that the exploitation of workers runs deeper than anyone had imagined: astonishingly, thousands of teenagers, some as young as sixteen, are being forced to work as "interns" at Foxconn as a requirement for graduation from vocational schools and universities. Intern Nation author Ross Perlin spoke to Gupta about the ways in which government and university officials have collaborated to provide a flowing supply of employees to the electronics manufacturer:
Foxconn is conspiring with government officials and universities in China to run what may be the world's single largest internship program – and one of the most exploitative. Students at vocational schools – including those whose studies have nothing to do with consumer electronics – are literally forced to move far from home to work for Foxconn, threatened that otherwise they won't be allowed to graduate. Assembling our iPhones and Kindles for meager wages, they work under the same conditions, or worse, as other workers in the Foxconn sweatshops.
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Ross Perlin will be participating in a panel co-sponsored by Dissent on internships and precarious work at Left Forum.