Turkey and Myanmar, have been named by the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB) in its annual “List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor.” As per the report, garment industries in both countries have employed child labor as have footwear manufacturers in Turkey.
The report, which includes 148 commodities from 76 countries, was mandated by the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorisation Act of 2005 and is updated regularly. ILAB continuously collects data from worldwide exporters in order to educate industry leaders on risky goods and regions that might otherwise escape notice. The process requires independent verification of labor information and does not rely solely on official data.
For ILAB, the goal is to protect interests at home by providing data to both consumers and organisations sourcing goods from foreign counties. In Turkey, ILAB uncovered reports that children, sometimes just 10 years old, produce garments for the industry. It also found that many within Turkey’s large Syrian refugee community were forced into this type of labor, too. The footwear industry in Turkey was also found to engage in the use of child labor. The instance of young boys and girls working in footwear production areas like Gaziantep and Istanbul has been considered common. In Myanmar, girls and boys from the age of 12 to 17 have been found working in garment factories, with a large portion of offenses occurring within the Yangon region.