A young activist shows her stomach with the words 'Fashion Kills' during a demonstration.

A young activist shows her stomach with the words ‘Fashion Kills’ during a demonstration.

The headline quotes our friend Harry Leslie Smith’s response to the announcement that H&M and Next have discovered that Syrian refugee children are working in factories belonging to their clothing suppliers in Turkey.

It seems unscrupulous businesspeople, on the routes taken by refugees from war in the Middle East, are taking the opportunity to exploit the hardship suffered by these people by victimising them further.

This is, of course, utterly vile and the perpetrators should be punished.

The fact that UK firms are implicated is a stain on the nation.

Two of Britain’s high street giants have found Syrian refugee children working in their clothing factories in Turkey, leading to calls for other retailers to investigate their own supply chains.

H&M and Next were the only retailers that admitted to identifying child labour in supplier factories in Turkey, but there are fears that the phenomenon could be far more widespread after several other companies failed to answer questions on the use of Syrian workers in their factories.

Along with China, Cambodia and Bangladesh, Turkey is one of the largest producers of clothing sold on the British high street, supplying labels that include Topshop, Burberry, Marks & Spencer and Asos.

The country is also the world’s largest host of Syrian refugees, accepting more than 2.5 million people who have fled the conflict since 2011.

A report by the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre (BHRRC), a non-profit organisation that monitors company ethics, warns that few brands are taking adequate steps to ensure that vulnerable refugees are not “fleeing from conflict into exploitative working conditions”.

Source: Syrian refugee children found working in Next and H&M factories | Middle East | News | The Independent

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