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Syrian refugees: Abuse & exploitation in Turkish garment factories

An estimated 650,000 Syrian refugees (numbers continue to rise) have fled their home country to escape bloodshed and have found a lifeline working in Turkey, with many working in the garment industry. Without these jobs, many families would face desperate times and would struggle to support themselves. However, the garment industry in Turkey is complex and exploitative conditions are too common. Since 2015, reports and investigations have exposed poor wages, discrimination, and child labour by Syrian refugees working in the Turkish garment industry.

Since February 2016 we have released three reports analysing brands' action to tackle this abuse based on their responses to survey questions we devised with the help of unions, refugee and worker organisations.  In July and August 2017 we visited Turkey to assess recent developments and speak to people on the ground.  Our reports can be accessed on the left.

Below is a collection of the latest news and resources on this important issue.

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Related stories and components

Article
21 February 2017

Foreign child workers exploited in sweatshops in Istanbul’s Küçükpazar

Author: Hurriyet Daily News

The Küçükpazar neighborhood of Istanbul’s Fatih district has become a center of sweatshops, where children from outside Turkey are forced to work in shocking conditions. The large commercial buildings in the narrow streets of Küçükpazar, behind the...

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Story
21 February 2017

Turkey: Child labour widespread across agricultural, construction and textile sectors

(Photo credit: DHA photos)

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Story
24 October 2016

Panorama - Undercover: The Refugees Who Make Our Clothes

...

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Article
21 October 2016

In Turkish sweatshops, Syrian children sew to survive

Author: Dasha Afanasiev, Reuters

To stem the flow of migrants to Europe, Turkey agreed to house and protect those Europe ejects. But Ankara is proving unable to protect all its Syrian refugee children. Many work illegally, including in the $40 billion textiles industry.

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Article
1 October 2016

'Press 1 for child labor': Garment workers use cellphones to report abuses

Author: Rina Chandran, Reuters [UK]

extile workers from Bangladesh to Turkey are using cellphones to report child labor, delayed wages and trafficking - a trend rights groups say shows the promise of technology in tackling abuses in the garment industry...Two mobile services, both by U...

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Article
6 June 2016

Turkey: Syrian child refugees allegedly found in sweatshop making military uniforms for ISIS

Author: Isabel Hunter & Salem Rizk, Mail Online (UK)

'Child slaves' making uniforms for Isis: Inside the Turkish sweatshop where children as young as nine work 12 hours a day stitching combat gear used in battle by Islamic State...

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Article
6 May 2016

Turkey: From war to sweatshop for Syria's child refugees

Author: Patrick Kingsley, Guardian (UK)

According to Unicef, more than half of Turkey’s 2.7 million registered Syrian refugees are children – and nearly 80% of them are not in school...Campaigners believe that many of the rest are in work, for salaries far below the minimum wage....Hamza’s...

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Article
12 April 2016

Turkey: Concerns over continued labour exploitation as only 0.1% of Syrian refugees in line for work permits

Author: Patrick Kingsley, Guardian (UK)

Fewer than 0.1% of Syrians in Turkey currently stand to gain the right to work under much-vaunted Turkish labour laws...Turkish employers have allowed roughly 2,000 – or 0.074% – of Turkey’s 2.7 million Syrians to apply for work permits under new...

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Article
30 March 2016

Primark announces increased supply chain checks in Turkey following concerns over exploitation of Syrian workers

Author: RTÉ News

Fashion chain Primark has said it has ramped up checks on the factories it uses in Turkey to ensure Syrian refugees are not exploited as part of a growing company policy to ensure workers are fairly treated. Paul Lister, head of the Irish company's...

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Story
2 February 2016
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