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Syrian child refugees making British clothes in Turkey

07:36 Oct 24 2016 Istanbul, Fatih, Istanbul, Marmara Region, Turkey

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[From Hurriyet Daily News service]

Syrian refugee children are reportedly working in factories in Turkey making clothes for British high street retailer Marks & Spencer and online store ASOS, an investigation by BBC Panorama found.

The investigation, which was scheduled to be broadcast on the evening of Oct. 24, found Syrian refugees as young as 15 working long hours for little pay, making and ironing clothes to be shipped off to Britain, BBC Panorama reported on Oct. 24.

BBC journalists took photographs of Marks & Spencer (MS) labels in the factories. Some Syrian refugees worked 12-hour days in a factory distressing jeans for fashion brands Mango and Zara, using chemicals with inadequate protection, the BBC said.

An MS spokesperson said: “We had previously found no evidence of Syrian workers employed in factories that supply us, so we were very disappointed by these findings, which are extremely serious and are unacceptable to MS.”

An ASOS spokeswoman said: “It’s a subject we take incredibly seriously. But it would be wrong for us to comment on reporting we haven’t seen.”

MS said it was working with the Turkish supplier to offer permanent legal employment to any Syrian daily workers employed in the factory.

Turkey has been a main entry point for refugees from the ongoing conflict in Syria, with three million estimated to be living there. Ankara in March signed a deal with the EU to stem the flow of refugees into the bloc.
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