There shall be no use of child labor. The age for admission to employment shall not be less than the age of completion of compulsory schooling, and, in any case, not less than 15 years. There shall be no forms of slavery or practices similar to slavery, such as the sale and trafficking of children, debt bondage and serfdom and forced or compulsory labor.
Children aged of 15-18 shall not perform work which, by the nature or the circumstances in which it is carried out, is likely to harm their health, safety or morals.
This is regularly reviewed by our employees on-site as well as the Fair Wear Foundation (FWF)
In the 2015 audits, there were no findings on the issue of child labor or on the youth protection law.
However, in the 2014 reporting period, a FWF audit uncovered child labor at a producer’s unauthorized subcontractor (where two other FWF members also produced) in Turkey. The sub-contractors had Syrian refugee children employed who were under 15 years of age. Together with the other concerned FWF members and the FWF, a plan was worked out regarding how we could support the children and their families in the future. This plan is being implemented until the children reach the age of 15.
This case involved five Syrian refugee children aged 12 to 14 years old that were encountered during the audit in 2014 of unauthorized subcontractors.
More about syrian refugees in turkish garment factories here
The Turkish producer commissioned the subcontractors. VAUDE and the other two FWF member companies committed themselves to supporting the children until they reach the age of 15. A MoU "Memorandum of Understanding" was drafted and signed by all parties.
Content of the MoU:
It was determined that the payments, verification of school attendance and the implementation of all measures agreed in the appropriate schedule must be made. The FWF is participating in making the measures possible and monitoring them.
What is the current standing?
The FWF assembled a team to attend to this event and the affected families over the entire project duration in Turkey.
Overall it can be said that the behavior of the families was very positive and they consented immediately to send their children to school. They were very grateful for the financial compensation they will receive during the school year until the children turn 15.
Five children from three different families were affected. One child fled to Germany with his family before the project started. At the end of October, another family with two children fled to Germany. Therefore, there are currently only two children who are attending school and whose family is being supported. The project will last until 2019, as the youngest child was born in 2004 and will have only reached the age of 15 at that time.
We are providing intensive support for our Turkish producer in the implementation of the Corrective Action Plan of the audit in 2014 to improve working conditions at the production site in the long term. In 2017, another audit will be conducted by the FWF to confirm the improvements and possibly to identify any points that need to be improved.
Generally speaking, producers in high-risk countries run the risk of child labor exploitation. This problem is also seen in textile production. However, due to the highly technical and complex manufacturing processes required, the risk in the outdoor gear sector is classified as very low because qualified and experienced employees are needed. In these facilities, it is more likely that violations of youth protection such as in regard to overtime or working with chemicals will occur.
Moreover, the risk in China and Vietnam (VAUDE’s primary production countries) is not as high as in Bangladesh and India for example – two countries in which child labor is still very widespread.