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14 Jul 2010

Andrew Kramer, New York Times

Philip Morris is said to benefit from child labor [Kazakhstan]

Human Rights Watch…release[d] a report…showing that child and forced labor is widespread on farms that supply a cigarette factory owned by Philip Morris International in Kazakhstan…While child labor should be condemned in any setting, the report said, employing children on tobacco farms is particularly hazardous because tobacco field laborers are exposed to high levels of nicotine…Philip Morris, after being provided with an advance copy of the report, said it agreed to sweeping changes in its purchasing policies in Kazakhstan. “Philip Morris International is firmly opposed to child labor,” Peter Nixon, a spokesman, said…Mr. Nixon said the company would require farmers to sign written contracts with adult laborers during this year’s growing season, and would hire an outside monitor to police farms for compliance with child labor laws…