“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 [in the age of 15-18] shall not perform work which, by its nature or the circumstances in which it is carried out, is likely to harm their health, safety or morals.”
An obligation in and of itself is not enough, of course. Therefore, all of our producers are regularly and independently audited by organizations such as the Fair Wear Foundation. Auditors check carefully whether there are cases of child labor. This is verified through interviews within and outside the production site and by reviewing documents.
Our FWF 2016 Audits show that there were no cases of child labor for our producers. Nevertheless, there was one finding in this category as one producer did not follow regulations for adolescent workers. We met with our producer and analyzed the findings to see how this happened and remedied the situation.
We are aware that cases of child labor are repeatedly encountered in the textile industry. Through our long-standing partnership with the majority of our producers and cooperation with the Fair Wear Foundation (FWF) are we convinced that we have been able to eliminate child labor as best we can. However, if a case of child labor should arise, we would respond immediately and initiate concrete measures with the FWF. This would include, among other things, immediately removing the child from the production facility, VAUDE financing an education for the child and compensating parents for the loss of earnings.
This case involved five Syrian refugee children aged 12 to 14 years that were encountered during the audit in 2014 of unauthorized subcontractors.
More about Syrian refugees in the Turkish textile industry here
VAUDE and the two other FWF member companies along with the Turkish producer who commissioned the subcontractors committed themselves to supporting the children until they reached the age of 15. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was drafted and signed by all parties.
Content of the MoU:
The FWF assembled a team to attend to this case and the affected families over the entire project in Turkey.