Report: Children worked at a few RJR contract tobacco farms

AP News
Posted: May 04, 2016 5:12 PM

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A report about the practices of farmers who sell tobacco to R.J. Reynolds shows that a few growers had children under the age of 13 working in their fields, violating a pledge by the company to ban the hiring of people so young.

The report by a consulting company and released Wednesday by a pro-worker group shows that five non-family minors under the age of 13 were working in the fields at the time of the assessment.

RJR spokesman John Wilson says the company's 2015 grower contracts prohibited the employment of non-family minors below the age of 16. He says the company has identified two growers who violated that policy.

A researcher with Human Rights Watch says such assessments are encouraging but more robust and meaningful data are needed.