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Turkey: Dutch garment brands cannot guarantee child labour-free supply chains, report concludes

Supply chain mapping pinpoints child labour links in Turkey, 9 Aug 2017

A pilot project to trace the garment and cotton supply chains of seven Dutch brands sourcing from Turkey has been unable to guarantee their products are free from child labour. The project was carried out by the Fair Labour Association and the Development Workshop Cooperative...as part of the broader Dutch Working Group on Child Labour...The pilot initiative involved C&A and BSCI participants Coolinvestments, DuPon & DeBruin, Just Brands, PVH, Varova Fashion Holding and WE Fashion...The researchers point out that...child labour is widespread throughout the industry – not just restricted to the seven brands...[T]he project team mentioned “several children...some as young as eight” on Turkish cotton farms.  “At this level of the supply chain, low wages and poverty drive the use of child labour...Project staff found that child labour is highest where mechanisation is lowest”, [reads the report]...[T]he pilot was unable to achieve one of its primary objectives – that of tracing a garment sold in the Netherlands back through all supply chain tiers to the source of cotton in Turkey.  “...[T]he project cannot guarantee that any products sold by participating companies are free from child labour, nor state definitively the level of risk of child labour faced by the specific companies participating in the project,” the report concludes...