An undercover BBC investigation found that Syrian refugee children have been making clothes for British shoppers. Factories in Turkey found that children have been working on clothes for Marks and Spencer and the online retailer ASOS. Many adult refugees were also seen working illegally for the brands like Mango jeans and Zara.
On the other hand the brands have said that they carefully monitor their supply chains and do not tolerate or allow exploitation of refugees or children. Marks and Spencer says that they conducted inspections that did not find a single Syrian refugee working in its supply chain in Turkey. But Panorama managed to find seven Syrians working in one of the British retailer’s main factories.
It was also found that the refugees earned a little more than a pound an hour which is way below the Turkish minimum wage. The refugees were employed through a middleman who paid them in cash on the street. One of the refugees, on the condition of anonymity said that they were poorly treated at the factory. He said, “If anything happens to a Syrian, they will throw him away like a piece of cloth.” The youngest worker at the factory was 15 years and was working more than 12 hours a day just ironing clothes before they were shipped to the UK.
A Marks and Spencer spokespersons said that the programme’s findings are very serious and unacceptable to them. It is also offering permanent legal employment to any Syrians who were employed at the factory. The brand clarified that they follow ethical fundamentals and all their suppliers are contractually required to comply with their Global Sourcing Principles that cover what they expect and require from them. M&S has also promised that they would ensure that such things do not happen again.
Photo Credits: globalsupplychainlawblog