Are there abuses? Of course there are. But no systemic abuses, most abuses will be due to the actions of supervisors, going to far when they push people. The systemic abuse still happens in smaller factories making very cheap products or producing for the local markets.
As for child labor. The minimum age is 16. All factories producing OEM products for big foreign customers are under strict supervision far exceeding any government regulation (not necessarily out of the good of their hearts but to avoid bad publicity). Everything is strictly controlled, overtime, safety, working and living conditions. I have seen factories getting fined ridiculous amounts ($100,000.- for about 10 guys working for 2 hours beyond the stipulated maximum 60 weekly hours --- 40+ over time --- to finish packing items for an urgent order). There is every incentive to stick to the rules.
And there is no incentive at all to hire underage workers in a factory. This is not the age of Charles Dickens, you can't pay them less than minimum wage and fire all the adults, so why even go there? Why take the enormous risks? You will be fined heavily, you open yourself up for extortion (people will demand money from you or they will expose the fact that you are using underage labor), and your customers will run away if they find out?
And for workers it is a sellers market, one factory tries to pay too little you just take a short walk down the road to the next factory gate where they are urgently looking for workers.
Again, you will find underage workers, but in restaurants, gas stations, etc. Very small, locally owned factories whose owners have cozy relationships with the local authorities. A large factory would have to be really stupid to hire them. The only way it can happen is if they are being deceived by a fake ID.
Last edited by HansTWN; 09-08-2012 at 08:34 PM.