Philip Morris International responds to Human Rights Watch report "Hellish Work" Exploitation of migrant tobacco workers in Kazakhstan released July 14, 2010.
July 14, 2010
Philip Morris International (PMI) is firmly opposed to child labor and all other labor abuses. We work closely with suppliers, governments and other interest groups to address the problems of child labor and other abuses in labor markets related to our supply chain.
The report issued today by Human Rights Watch raises serious issues concerning child labor and conditions affecting migrant workers on tobacco farms in Kazakhstan.
We are grateful to Human Rights Watch for bringing these matters to our attention and have taken immediate steps to strengthen the application of our existing policies and practices on child labor and to address the other areas of concern raised in their Report. We have already strengthened contractual obligations for farmers to prohibit certain conduct that was raised in the Report and to establish standards of treatment of the workers. We are also implementing a system of third party compliance monitoring and reinforcing training to farmers, workers and our agronomists on the prevention of child labor and expanding training and internal monitoring to cover issues specific to migrant labor rights and working and living conditions. In addition, we are working with the local authorities and NGOs to improve access of children of migrant workers to local schools.
No one should work in unsafe or unlawful conditions and we are committed to working to prevent child labor, forced labor and other labor abuses in the tobacco supply chain. We look forward to a continued cooperation with Human Rights Watch, other NGOs, and government organizations to achieve this goal.