While the legal working age in China is 16, Nike’s code of conduct states that its contractors do not “employ any person below the age of 18 to produce footwear.”
Spokesmen for Nike and for Longfa Shoe Factory denied the allegation and said hiring underage workers would violate company policies.
But some workers at the factory say they were sent to work at age 15 or 16. They were supplied with fake identification papers showing earlier birthdates, they said.
Sawut and Abide, Uyghurs originally from China’s northwestern Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), said that most of the girls were brought to Longfa at age 16 or 17 in three separate groups during March, April, and September of 2008.