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A report from Reuters on Friday claimed SMART Alabama LLC, a supplier with a manufacturing facility in Luverne, had used child labor in the past.

SMART, a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Company, manufactures stamped metal for Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama (HMMA).

According to the Reuters report, three children of Guatemalan migrants, ages 12, 13 and 15, had worked at the Luverne facility. The family lived in Enterprise, and the children were not enrolled in school.

The allegations came to light after one of the children, a girl who turns 14 this month, briefly disappeared from her family's home.

On Friday, SMART issued a statement denying it knowingly hired underage labor.

“SMART Alabama, LLC has a longstanding policy that requires compliance with all federal, state, and local laws," a statement from the company attributed to Gary Sport, general manager of SMART, said. "SMART denies any allegation that it knowingly employed anyone who is ineligible for employment under these laws. SMART finds the act of human trafficking and the exploitation of vulnerable populations tragic."

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall's office would not comment for the Reuters story.

In 2002, Hyundai announced it was building the facility near Montgomery, after beating out Kentucky for the facility's location after offering an $118.5 million incentive package.

To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email jeff.poor@1819News.com.

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