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Suicide hell inside VTech sweatshop

The Sun |  By Daniel Jones | July, 02 2012 |  Share  | Source Article

ELECTRONIC learning toys for British kids are churned out by household name VTech in prison-style factories so hellish that workers are driven to SUICIDE.

Exploited staff are beaten, forced to slave on production lines for 15 hours a day - and fed a diet of rice and rotten spuds, a probe found.

Workers sleep in grim overcrowded factory dorms - on bunks with no mattresses - because the 70p-an-hour pay is not enough to live on. Those trying to flee have their meagre wages confiscated - leaving them to starve, says the respected Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights.

Last night its director Charles Kernaghan blasted "cruel, inhuman and illegal" conditions at VTech's Chinese factories. He said: "Many young workers at VTech have leapt to their deaths."

His organisation cites the case of one 20-year-old who jumped from a sixth-floor dorm. VTech is said to have sworn staff to secrecy.

And a woman aged 24 is feared to have taken an overdose in her dorm.

A nightmare dossier from the Institute exposes primitive brutality behind hi-tech toys such as the £80 Storio e-reader and the similarly priced InnoTab2 - a kiddie version of the iPad which toy store Hamleys is tipping to be Christmas's top-seller.

Mr Kernaghan said "trapped" workers have no choice but to do "gruelling and excessive overtime" because pay is so poor at Hong Kong-based VTech's factories in Guangdong.

They also make cordless phones for Philips, whose bosses have launched an urgent investigation.

One worker told watchdogs: "Entering this lion's den is like becoming a shackled piece of livestock."

VTech, which had revenues of £1billion last year, angrily rejected the claims - insisting it is a "responsible and caring employer" which had "harmonious staff relations".