Child Labor: How child refugees in Turkey are making clothes for European brands

child refugees

Kids who work for survival

Various Reports reveal that Syrian children have been making clothes for big brands of the European clothing industry, an investigation has found.

On the weekdays when the Turkish children are busy in school, Syrian children are manufacturing the clothes that are about to be shipped to the European market.

There are also adult refugees to be found, working illegally on the Zara and Mango jeans even though all these brands say that they do not tolerate the exploitation of refugees and child labor.

Some other brands says that not a single refugee working in its supply chain in Turkey, as per their investigations.

But investigation found seven Syrians working in one of the British retailer’s main factories. The refugees often earned little more than a pound an hour – well below the Turkish minimum wage. They were employed through a middleman who paid them in cash on the street.

The investigation reveals that there are children as young as 12 years are working up to 60 hours a week and paid lower than the minimum wage in Turkey.

As per the Turkey’s policies, the Syrians are not allowed of the work permit, so most of the refugees work there illegally. But the Turkish government announced new regulations last week in which any Syrian who is living in Turkey for six months is eligible to get a work permit.


Risk to the European Brands

A little is known about the how much illegal refugee labor is exploited in the supply chain of European brands. The sector consists of the small scale industry and medium sized factories, often with poor working conditions and no auditing, to which larger factories outsource production.

There are a number of European brands that import goods from Turkey, since it’s near and is well known for their quality work after the countries like Bangladesh and China.

Some organisations are pushing brands to be open about the refugees in their supply chains The Business & Human Rights Resource Centre has asked the major clothing brands to account for their supply chains and outline the steps they are taking to protect Syrian refugees from abuse and exploitation. It will publish responses in February.