Child labour in Turkey: How the Syrian conflict is impacting the Turkish garment sector

Child labour in Turkey: How the Syrian conflict is impacting the Turkish garment sector

The Syrian conflict may seem distant to fashion companies and consumers, but the war is having a direct impact on the garment sector through its supply chain. A growing number of Syrian children, hired in violation of International Labour Organisation (ILO) conventions that prohibit child labour, are used as cheap manpower in Turkish textile factories.

Brands that only account for a small percentage of a factory’s production have limited leverage to demand changes, which is why FWF encourages cooperation between members sourcing from the same suppliers to boost their influence. “If you’re lucky enough to find other FWF members working with the same manufacturer, this is the best case scenario,” says Sven König. “You can combine corrective efforts and have more leverage, more impact.” Vaude won the 2015 FWF Best Practice award for a joint training project conducted in cooperation with two other companies, Jack Wolfskin and Salewa.

Fair Wear Foundation is in favour of working together with other multi stakeholder initiatives like FLA and ETI.

Creating an environment in which garment companies can be more honest about the darker sides of the industry and engage constructively with their suppliers would be an important step towards preventing child labour. “We want brands to be frank and open about it,” says Margreet Vrieling of FWF. “Brands and suppliers must give each other room to do business in a respectful way.”

Author: Nicole Pope – for Fair Wear Foundation

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