Made in Turkey, stitched by Syrian children
The above was the title of a report by BBC, although half of the 600000 Syrian children in Turkey are enrolled in schools, many are obliged to earn money for their families
The UN has warned that a whole generation of Syrian children is at risk.
The Business Human Rights Resource Centre (BHRRC) asked 28 major brands if they were aware of any Syrian children employed by their Turkish suppliers and, if so, their strategies for combating the exploitation of Syrian children and adults.
In their answers to the watchdog, retail chain H&M said out of 210 units it was working with in Turkey, they found Syrian children were working in one unit. The company also said it was co-operating with a non-governmental agency (NGO) in Turkey to ensure that education planning was drawn up and implemented.
The retailer Next also said it had identified that Syrian children had worked for its Turkish suppliers. The company’s strategy for tackling the issue was also praised in the report by BHRRC.
On the other hand, representatives of the textile sector in Turkey criticised news agencies and newspapers which had reported the issue, saying that such stories would harm the Turkish economy and discredit Turkish textile manufacturing.
The head of one union said Turkey should tackle child labour and those companies involved should be revealed, but the whole sector should not be defamed.