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Positive steps to eradicate child labour in Turkish garment sector

Author: Nicole Pope, Fair Wear Foundation, Published on: 7 August 2017

"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...are used as cheap manpower in Turkish textile factories... Margreet Vrieling, FWF [Fair Wear Foundation] Associate Director [notes that] “[b]rands should not turn a blind eye hoping that it won’t affect their supply chain.”... FWF works to improve labour conditions in the garment industry... [Companies affiliated with] FWF...engage with their manufacturers to find solutions to labour issues in their supply chain... Child labour was on the decline in Turkey until the influx of Syrians fleeing the conflict turned the tide. In surveys conducted among Syrians in Turkey, Support for Life (SFL), a humanitarian agency, found almost a third of Syrian households in Istanbul [at least one child is working]... Garment companies that join FWF commit to implementing the FWF Code of Labour Practices step-by-step, including its provisions on child labour, which mirror those of ILO... [FWF acknowledges that] [b]rands that only account for a small percentage of a factory’s production have limited leverage to demand changes, which is why [it] encourages cooperation between members sourcing from the same suppliers to boost their influence... 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...

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