Mitigating child labour risks in Turkish garment and cotton sector

In 2013, the Dutch government, civil society organisations, and industry representatives collectively developed an action plan to improve the social, structural, ecological and economic conditions in global garment and textile supply chains. The Working Group on Child Labour, established under this Action Plan, has launched a pilot project to map, identify, and mitigate child labor risks in Turkish cotton farms, textile mills, and apparel factories involved in producing garments eventually sold to Dutch consumers.

As active member of the Working Group, Stop Child Labour had a leading role in the design of the project. Together with the Fair Labor Association a project proposal was developed, funding was arranged and companies were convinced to participate. In November 2015 the project has officially started with the following companies: C&A, Coolinvestments, DPDB, Just Brands, PVH, Varova Fashion and WE.

Children in the cotton harvest in Turkey are working an average of more than six days per week, with an average of 11.35 working hours per day according to field reports by the Turkish NGO Development Workshop Cooperative. Many children drop out of school, can be injured or even killed in workplace accidents, and suffer poor living conditions, a harsh work environment, and malnutrition. Although some data exists documenting work performed by children on cotton farms, there is not yet any systematic data for the garment industry as a whole, documenting the use of children in cotton ginning, spinning mills, or textile mills. Similarly, there is limited information available about the presence and working conditions of Syrian migrant children in the Turkish cotton supply chain.

The objective of the project is to map these roles across the supply chain, and improve the lives of these children by working collaboratively with the Working Group to mitigate the root causes of child labor. The project is funded by the participating companies, the Dutch Embassy in Turkey, Stop Child Labour and UNICEF Netherlands. Besides funding, Stop Child Labour is providing expertise and support to the design and implementation of the project. The project will be implemented by the Fair Labor Association and the Development Workshop Cooperative.

Find more information on the project on the website of Fair Labor Association or in the flyers below (English and Turkish):

>> Mitigating Child Labor in Cotton (English flyer, pdf)

>> Mitigating Child Labor in Cotton (Turkish flyer, pdf)