Brands play large role in tackling child labour

Clothing brands can learn from their peers who dare to be honest about finding child labour in their supply chains, know the risks, try to limit them whenever possible, and take action where necessary. That is the essence of an FWF op-ed that the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre published on its website today.

On behalf of a group of FWF brands, FWF wrote a letter on how garment brands can work together on eradicating child labour. In the letter, brands of Fair Wear Foundation are unusually transparent about child labour in (their) garment supply chains. The cases of Syrian refugee children in Turkey and a garment factory in Myanmar are highlighted as examples of good practices.

Small group of brands
Child labour is still a widespread problem in many sectors, including the garment industry. Garment brands can play an important role in tackling this problem. However, that doesn’t happen enough. FWF brands are not the only ones who have found child labour in their supply chains, far from that. But still, they are part of only a small group of brands who are seriously working on it.

The letter shows that there are steps that garment brands can take towards tackling child labour, using their economic influence. FWF hopes that the letter will motivate other brands to take action too. If more brands were to also step up, FWF members and the industry in general could act more effectively when child labour is discovered.

Hamza and Osman
Child labour is a serious risk in Turkish garment factories. Although it had been on the decline in recent years, the influx of Syrians fleeing the conflict turned the tide. In 2014, FWF auditors spotted the Syrian Hamza (14) and Osman (13) at work in a Turkish textile factory. FWF members sourcing from the factory took responsibility for getting the children out of the factory and back to school for them.
Read more about this case in FWF’s long read on child labour in Turkey: How the Syrian conflict is impacting the Turkish garment sector.