Apple has admitted that child labour was used at some of the Chinese factories the company uses to manufacture computers, iPods and iPhones.

Eleven 15-year-old children were found to be working in 2009 at three factories that supply Apple directly.

Most of Apple's computers, phones and digital music players are assembled in China. The company has not revealed the names or locations of the three factories in question that were using child labour to assemble Apple devices.

Dodgy suppliers sacked

Apple said this week that the child workers in question are no longer being used, or that they are now not underage.

"In each of the three facilities, we required a review of all employment records for the year as well as a complete analysis of the hiring process to clarify how underage people had been able to gain employment," said Apple in an annual suppliers report.

Either way, the fact that it happened at all is yet another PR nightmare for Steve Jobs, with the news hot on the heels of a story earlier this month that 62 workers at a factory run by Wintek, in the Chinese city of Suzhou that manufactures products for Apple and Nokia were poisoned by n-hexane.

In the latest report, Apple detailed sweatshop conditions inside some of the factories it uses, with 55 of the 102 factories that supply the company ignoring Apple's rule that staff cannot work more than 60 hours a week.

"When we investigated, we uncovered records and conducted worker interviews that revealed excessive working hours and seven days of continuous work," Apple said, noting it had now terminated its contracts with the factory in question.

Via The Telegraph