Child labour and low wages face Syrian refugees in the garment industry in Turkey (photo series)
Syrian refugees trying to survive in Turkey work for minimum wages
Since fleeing the war and after the new EU - Turkey deal effectively shutting down routes to Europe for many Syrian refugees, living in Turkey has become their only option, however there is very little stable work and little hope of building a future. Turkey's massive and largely unregulated garment industry is an attractive option for Syrians to work both legally and illegally despite low wages, long hours and poor conditions. It is a popular choice for Syrians living outside of the official refugee camps, who are offered no assistance from the state. Child labour amongst Syrian refugees is also a major concern, with children between the ages of 7-10yrs often working in clothing and shoe factories on shifts longer than 10 hours, earning them approximately 400TL per month (135USD) well below the Turkish minimum wage of 1,647TL a month (554USD). For many children working in garment factories is their only choice as many have lost their father's, uncles, and brothers to the war and now find themselves as the head of the family... Turkey's garment industry is a massive supplier to both Europe and the Middle East, as part of the EU -Turkey deal it was announced that Syrians who had been in the country for more than six months would be able to apply for a work permit allowing them to receive the minimum wage and some work benefits, which would aim at protecting workers from discrimination.