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Garment makers not fast enough to stop Syrian refugees from being exploited

Garment makers not fast enough to stop Syrian refugees from being exploited

Outreach to 28 garment brands sourcing from Turkey carried out by the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre, has revealed that few are tackling the plight of Syrian refugees in their supply chains head-on. 

It has brought attention to the fact that a larger portion of garment brands sourcing from Turkey simply aren’t taking the correct steps to ensure that fleeing Syrian refugees are not working in exploitative working conditions.

As leaders from countries around the world prepare to meet in London to discuss responses to the Syrian conflict - including ways to create jobs for refugees - worrying reports highlight pitiful wages, child labour and sexual abuse for some Syrian refugees working without permits.

There is a real risk that these abuses could occur in the Turkish clothing factories that supply Europe’s high streets. According to the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre, an estimated 250,000 to 400,000 Syrian refugees work illegally in Turkey, making them vulnerable to abuse.

Together with the Turkish government, key brands have announced that work permits will be issued to Syrian refugees – lack of work permits is a key source of vulnerability.

14 of 28 brands that the Resource Centre approached with questions have not responded yet, or sent short statements. Others cited zero tolerance policies on the employment of undocumented workers as evidence that they do not exist in their supply chain.

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