Turkish textile sector representative says BBC report on Syrian child workers a ‘conspiracy’

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The head of the İstanbul Ready-Made Garment Exporters’ Association (İHKİB), Hikmet Tanrıverdi,has slammed a recent BBC “Panorama” report on Syrian refugee children working in factories in Turkey to make clothes for British retailers, describing the report as a “conspiracy” against the Turkish textile sector.

“Those who are afraid of our power in the global ready-to-wear sector and those who want to intimidate companies that have their products manufactured in Turkey use this method. We will make it null and void,” Tanrıverdi said, speaking at a news conference on Wednesday.

In an Oct. 24 broadcast titled “Undercover: Refugees Who Make Our Clothes,” BBC “Panorama” reported that Syrian refugees and children were working illegally in poor conditions to make clothes for British retailers, one of the largest customers for Turkish textile producers and exporters.

“Panorama” investigated factories in Turkey and found children had been working on clothes for Marks and Spencer and the online retailer Asos.

Adult refugees were also found working illegally on Zara and Mango jeans.

All the brands say they carefully monitor their supply chains and do not tolerate the exploitation of refugees or children, according to BBC’s report.

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