In October 2021, FSFE announced their Youth Hacking 4 Freedom unpaid internships for children aged 14 to 17. The Fellowship was quick to denounce it due to the risk of child labor.

Six months later and we notice there has been radio silence from FSFE.

We can't even find the most basic details about how many children registered to participate in the competition.

It looks like the FSFE donors and volunteers have been duped into supporting child labor.

The Fellowship called it out and it looks like the FSFE has quietly mothballed this controversial program.

On the other hand, if this program has proceeded in secret, it would be inconsistent with the principles of free software development. Free software is all about open and transparent collaboration.

In the 1940s, children from Ukraine, as young as 14 years, were forced to work in German factories:

FSFE, Germany, child labor, yh4f

To be considered for the prize, the participants are told that they must publish all their code under a free software license: in other words, they must give up all rights to any future payment. This doesn't happen in any other industry, certainly not with children.

Fellowship believes all children of working age should be paid for hours worked in accordance with human rights obligations.