Do you know where your iPhone comes from? According to a new documentary from the BBC, the answer might surprise and appall you.
Apple is no stranger to worker-rights controversies stemming from its suppliers in China, but the company has said it is working to improve conditions. However, the new documentary from the BBC's Panorama shows that Apple suppliers still employ working conditions and practices that are dangerous for workers and bad for the environment.
The BBC sent three teams of undercover workers into various Chinese factories and raw-materials suppliers to get its video footage.
The documentary shows workers in Chinese factories falling asleep while standing. According to the documentary, the workers, who assemble iPhones, have 12-hour shifts. Some workers were too tired to eat, and one man said he would fall asleep even before using the restroom at the end of the day. Other allegations include too many workers assigned to each dorm room, child labor violations and bullying by management.
The documentary also shows videos of children working in dangerous tin mining pits in Indonesia that are at risk for landslides. According to the BBC, the tin mining operations result in many miner deaths, deforestation and the destruction of reefs in the ocean.
The factories and mining operations in question aren't actually owned by Apple. Rather, they're suppliers that the company uses to assemble its products and get much-needed resources like tin ore.
But the BBC has gone a step further by following the Apple parts supply chain back to the source, where the BBC found children digging for tin in mud pits in Bangka, Indonesia. The workers are at constant risk of being buried in landslides as the walls of the makeshift opencast mines are hosed to sheath off more mud and expose more tin ore for iPhone parts.
Apple has spoken out against the documentary, and still says that it is working on improving worker conditions in the factories that produce its gadgets. The company also said it would investigate the claims made in the documentary.