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Top retailers fail to stop refugee abuse

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Top retailers fail to stop refugee abuse

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Some of Europe’s best-known retailers are failing to stop the abuse of thousands of Syrian refugees working in Turkish factories in the country’s multi-billion dollar garment industry.

The Business and Human Rights Resource Centre says low wages, discrimination and poor conditions are common in factories which supply major high-street stores.

The worst offenders include the discount supermarket Aldi and fashion icon Topshop. But it’s not all bad news, the business pressure group says clothing giants Zara and Next have made progress in protecting workers.

The charity said more brands had boosted efforts to clean up their supply chains compared to last year, with the top performers establishing plans to protect refugees, mechanisms to handle complaints, and initiating dialogue with workers’ groups.

Over half a million, Syrian refugees are estimated to be working in Turkey, many in the garment industry, yet most lack work permits leaving them at greater risk of abuse.

A Reuters investigation last year found evidence of Syrian refugee children in Turkey working in clothes factories in illegal conditions. Turkey bans children under 15 from working.