Syrian refugees: Abuse & exploitation in Turkish garment factories

Hundreds of thousands Syrian refugees are working in Turkish apparel factories (and numbers continue to rise). Most of them do not have the right to work, and therefore are vulnerable to abuse and exploitation.  Women make up the majority of the textile workforce and are therefore particularly at risk as are children who are also being used in large numbers.

In December 2015 the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre developed a questionnaire which it sent to 28 leading brands asking them about the steps they were taking to protect Syrian refugees from abuse and exploitation in their Turkish supply chain.  You can access the responses and non responses provided by brands here and our briefing on the findings along with recommendations for brands here.

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

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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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Article
29 January 2016

Hidden child labour: how Syrian refugees in Turkey are supplying Europe with fast fashion

Author: Frederik Johannisson, Guardian (UK)

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Story
12 January 2016

Turkey: Govt. announces plans to give Syrian refugees work permits, but measures expected to include restrictions

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Article
6 January 2016

Syrian migrants in Turkey set up shop, seeking the right to work

Author: Piotr Zalewski, Financial Times

Spearheaded by the likes of Mr Fansa, a migrant economy [in Turkey] is beginning to take root. With a population of 77m, Turkey is home to more than 2.2m Syrians, nearly four times the number at the end of 2013... An estimated 400,000 have found...

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Article
6 January 2016

Turkey: Influx of Syrian refugees causes child labour boom

Author: Didem Tali, Al Jazeera America

Adil, 16, is one of more than 400,000 Syrian children in Turkey working in the informal economy instead of continuing their education. He has been at the same shop for the past three years, making what he describes as “a third to half of what Turkish...

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Story
4 December 2015

An estimated 250,000 Syrian refugees working in Turkey - vulnerable to exploitation

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Article
4 December 2015

Turkey: Around 250,000 Syrians working illegally in Turkey - at risk of exploitation

Author: Reuters

As Turkey prepares to give more Syrians the right to work, thousands of Turkish bosses are already benefiting from cheap and illegal Syrian labour, raising concerns about the treatment of vulnerable members of the world's largest refugee community....

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