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50 Children Reportedly Found Working In Alabama Hyundai Factory

Child labor has been discovered once again in the US. As many as 50 migrant children were reportedly found working at SMART Alabama, an automotive parts manufacturer which has been a supplier for Hyundai since 2003. The discovery was made after police started an investigation into the disappearance of a 13-year-old girl who had run away with a 21-year-old fellow employee.According to reports, SMART fired multiple underage employees as police probed deeper into their business practices. Some of the workers were as young as 12 years old, and a former employee claims that about 50 children were working multiple shifts while he was at the company.Joe Raedle/Getty ImagesThe revelations were prompted by an investigation into the disappearance of 13-year-old Eidy Aracely Tzi Coc. Coc, along with her two underage brothers, was employed by the plant and wasn’t going to school. The children’s father, Pedro Tzi, confirmed their employment status in an interview.Tzi had reported Eidy missing back in February after she didn’t come home. Police issued an amber alert, and also began to search for 21-year-old Alvaro Cucul, whom Tzi believed Eidy might have been with. Eventually, they located Cucul and Eidy 300 miles away in Athens, Georgia. Eidy claimed the two were looking for work, but the police arrested Cucul and had him deported to Guatemala.The coverage of the case quickly began to shift to the fact that Eidy was working for SMART as a child laborer. As a result, SMART quickly began firing the children in its employment, according to allegations made by two former employees and other locals. The allegations of underaged workers have been corroborated by multiple former and current employees at the plant, along with labor recruiters. This isn’t SMART’s first infraction. The plant has a history of health and safety hazards, including dangers of amputation.As for Eidy and her brothers, they will be returning to school next semester. Said their father: “All that is over now. The kids aren’t working.”[via]

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