Today is not only the last day of January, but also the final day of Human Trafficking Awareness month, a US initiative that’s taken on a global agenda, inspiring activitists and consumers from every corner of the world to campaign for the rights of men, women, and children who are victims of labor or sex trafficking. As we shared earlier, it’s a cause close to the heart of Pitupi, as we operate in an industry that is unfortunately a hotbed for trafficking. Our commitment to transparency throughout the production process is just one means of showing to you, our customer, that beautiful clothes, fair wages, and safe working conditions can go hand-in-hand.
Transparency, however, is not the name of the game for many suppliers in Turkey, who have recently been exposed by major papers like the Guardian for their use of child labor and unfair labor practices that further disenfranchise Syrian refugees who have fled to the country in light of the conflict in Syria. German brands like Orsay and Margittes have been called out -alongside almost 30 other brands- for using factories where Syrian workers are underpaid and overworked, earning around .25 euro an hour. With Turkey acting as the third largest supplier of clothing to Europe, many of us are left wondering what can be done to see to it that these clothes are made fairly and that worker rights are secured.
Researcher McMullan for the UK-based Business and Human Rights Resource Centre hinted at one of the many answers to that lingering question by saying that, “businesses shouldn’t become complacent, they will need to know where Syrian refugees are in their supply chain and be diligent to the exploitation that has and will continue to take place.” As a consumer, you have so much power to also push for non-complacency. You carry not only the purse but also a very strong voice…it’s just a matter of using it! Social media has made it not only easy but also fun to find out where brands are procuring materials for their collections, what their supply chains look like, and what goals they have for satisfying you, the consumer.
Take a look at the Guardian piece below to read more about working conditions, and to get a better understanding of why businesses like ours are so committed to shaking things up and raising the bar within the industry. Want to learn more about our own supply chain? Visit us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram or leave a comment below.
Here’s to a new month and a great week ahead.