Apple Announces Program to Hire Survivors of Trafficking

Apple announced that it will begin helping human trafficking survivors get jobs at its stores, the Thomson Reuters Foundation reported Thursday.

Iphone PexelsiPhone and airbuds (Photo: Pexels)The program will be in partnership with the UN’s International Organization for Migration, according to the BBC. Apple will assist survivors in interviewing for positions like caretaker, and landscaping, among other positions. Suppliers will hire the employees and the survivors will not be disclosed to Apple. The tech company will still oversee the program.

Eventually, the outlet reported, front-of-house positions will also be open to the program.

The announcement came after the tech giant won an award at a conference organized by the foundation for publicly releasing its supply chains to combat slavery. Apple has said, according to TRF, that since 2012 they have decreased child labor in the areas reached by their extended supply chain.

"As a company whose work touches the lives of so many people, we feel we have an enormous responsibility ... to turn our values into action," Angela Ahrendts, head of retail at Apple, said while accepting the award.

"Just like we have an environmental responsibility, a supplier responsibility, we also believe we have a human responsibility to keep doing what we can," she said, according to the conference.

The company’s award, however, does not come without criticism.

“Apple may be doing more compared to other companies but that is because it has the resources to do so,” Li Qiang, Executive Director of China Labor Watch, said, according to the BBC. He added that the company is not doing enough.

Amnesty International who has previously complimented Apple’s efforts in comparison to similar companies cautioned that Apple could work more to eradicate its connections to modern slavery. In 2016, the organization listed Apple as one of the technology companies that had failed to check if children mined the cobalt found in its products' batteries.

“While it shouldn't be necessary to reward companies for taking steps to stop slavery in their business, we should recognise that some companies, such as Apple, are doing more than others to be transparent about how they are tackling slavery in the supply chain,” said Peter Frankental, the organization’s business and human rights program director in the UK, the BBC reported.

“And whilst it's commendable that Apple is investigating its cobalt supply chain, it's still failing to disclose all the human rights risks and abuses it finds,” he added.