Dozens of miners reportedly worked at an Alabama plant owned by Hyundai
- According to Reuters, children as young as 12 are believed to be working in a factory in Alabama.
- The report comes after the disappearance of a young migrant who worked at the factory.
- A former employee told Reuters that to cope with high demand, the factory relied on migrant workers.
Underage workers were reportedly working at a Hyundai-owned supply plant in Alabama, according to a report by Reuters on Friday.
Children as young as 12 worked at the SMART metal stamping plant in Luverne, Alabama, which supplies parts for the Hyundai assembly line in nearby Montgomery, according to Reuters.
The outlet said it learned about child labor after a Guatemalan migrant briefly disappeared from her family’s home in Alabama in February.
Pedro Tzi, the father of the future 14-year-old girl, confirmed to Reuters that she and her two brothers, aged 12 and 15, did not go to school or work at the factory.
According to Reuters information, the Tzi children were part of a larger group of miners working at the factory, adding that several of them dropped out of school to work long hours at the factory.
Many miners at the plant were hired through recruitment agencies, according to current and former SMART workers and local labor recruiters who spoke to Reuters.
Tabatha Moultry, 39, a former SMART employee, told Reuters the factory relied on migrant workers to meet high demand and recalled working with a migrant who “looked like she was 11 or 12 years”.
“She was far too young to work in this factory, or any factory,” Moutry told Reuters.
Another former employee told Reuters there were around 50 underage workers working at the facility.
In a statement to Reuters, Hyundai said it “does not tolerate illegal employment practices at any Hyundai entity. We have policies and procedures in place that require compliance with all local, state and federal laws. “.
In a separate statement, SMART told Reuters that the factory “denies any allegation that it knowingly employed anyone ineligible for employment”, adding that it requires “such agencies to comply with the law regarding recruiting, hiring and placing workers on its premises”.
“It’s all over now,” the father told Reuters. “The children are not working and in the fall they will be in school.”
SMART did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.