By Courtney Jones and Morgan Ginn
In case you’ve been in a coma or under a rock for the past few years, there’s this thing called the Syrian Refugee Crisis going on. With war in Syria, many have fled to neighboring countries to seek safety. Of those leaving, some have ended up in Turkey where they are now working illegally in the garment industry. Because these individuals do not have work permits they are exploited and have next to no choice as to where they can work, which is why many end up in the garment industry who is already known for harsh conditions.
Brands that have found Syrian refugees working in their factories include “ASOS, C&A, H&M, KiK, LC Waikiki, Primark, New Look, NEXT and Otto Group.” Many of the companies who are outsourcing overseas do not own the factories. Instead, they pick factories based on the best rate they can receive. This means that factories are competing with one another to give the lowest price which often results in the workers and working conditions being neglected. Because the companies don’t own the factories that are making their clothes, they are not held accountable if anything happens. As well, these factories do outsourcing of their own and these locations are where many of the refugees are found working, which means the companies have no idea refugees or child workers are being used.
The argument could be made that at least they are getting work which is better than washing up on shore in an attempt to flee Syria. But you wouldn’t accept these working conditions, why should refugees? Refugees are 100% human, and thus should be treated as such.
Even in this heated political time, it is obvious that a majority of people really do care about refugees which was made obvious by the riots that broke out after Trump’s executive travel ban. We love seeing people stand up for what is right! We believe that giving a damn is not just about caring but about real behavior change in order to garner a real impact. A simple way to do so is educating yourself on the companies in which you shop. Don’t support companies that don’t respect their workers. Remember, how you spend your money is how you vote for what kind of world you want to live in. If our compassion for refugees does not outweigh our passion for things than we obviously don’t care enough.
Throughout the month of March our focus is on the refugee crisis. Our goal is to equip you with the resources you need so that you can use your consumerism to play a real role in helping refugees. All month long we’ll be highlighting companies that are empowering refugees through fashion and companies that are playing a part in aiding the refugee crisis.
We are not experts on the refugee crisis by any means, so check out these resources that helped us write this blog post, and do some further investigating yourself!
Watch: BBC Panorama Investigation