In order to implement this in our production sites, all of our producers are obligated to refrain from employing children and to following regulations for employing youth. The obligation is as follows:
“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. Exploitation, slavery, trafficking, debt bondage, serfdom and forced labor are prohibited. Young people aged 15-18 are subject to special protections. They 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 Fair Wear. Auditors check carefully whether there are cases of child labor. This is verified through interviews inside and outside the production site and by reviewing documents.
The Fair Wear 2020 audits show that there were no cases of child labor for our producers.
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 our cooperation with Fair Wear, we are convinced that we have been able to eliminate child labor as best we can. However, if a case of child labor should arise, we will respond immediately and initiate concrete measures with Fair Wear. 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 Fair Wear 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:
It was agreed upon that the payments, verification of school attendance and the implementation of all measures would occur as scheduled. Fair Wear participated in making the measures possible and monitoring them. Fair Wear assembled a team in Turkey to supervise this case and the affected families for the entire duration of the project.
The measures have been completed. As agreed, VAUDE supported the families until March 2018.