Rumours have been rising over the past several months about Foxconn's alleged employment of minors. It began when the subcontractor itself announced that it had discovered persons under 14 years old working in its factories during an internal audit in its Yantai, China factory (the legal working age in China is 16). The company then proceeded to send the children in question home.
Foxconn has made the requisite public apology and, by all appearances, remained transparent about what it deems an unfortunate discovery. But more than anything this seems like a strategy to simply avoid scandal by beating the press to the punch. If there's one thing to learn from the whole situation, it's the need for frequent and effective inspections. Foxconn is also under the supervision of the NGO Fair Labor Association(FLA).
For its part, Foxconn insists it remains vigilant in its hiring process and in its desire to fight against all forms of labour law violation. Apple has obviously also been incriminated in the affair and has demanded regular inspections of the working conditions in Foxconn's facilities, failing which the company would supposedly find a new subcontractor. Apple is not the only brand that makes use of Foxconn's services; other contractors include Nokia and Sony.