The Dutch textile collection company Sympany studied the risks of child labour in the textile industry in Panipat, India. Its research resulted in a child labour free zone, where children from Panipat go to school rather than work in factories. In India, Sympany processes old clothing from collection bins in the Netherlands. With support from the Fund against Child Labour (FBK), Sympany studied its textile recycling chain. Sympany worked with the Dutch NGO Arisa and their Indian partners to carry out the project.
Too little attention for working conditions in the textile-recycling chain
“Clothing brands are becoming more aware of the situation in the sewing workshops where new clothes are made. But recycling in the textile industry is still not getting enough attention,” says Gemma Claessen, programme manager at Sympany. That is why Sympany and its partners are calling on companies in the chain to accept their responsibility in this area. It is very important that other businesses join us in trying to remove the risks in the textile recycling chain. These factories have about 20,000 to 70,000 textile workers. Many of the workers are migrant families. The report ‘Textile recycling unravelled’ shows that the textile recycling chain is complex and often involves child labour and poor working conditions.
Successfully tackling child labour
Sympany and Arisa work with Indian NGOs. Together they have created a zone free from child labour in Panipat. The teachers, local authorities, employers and parents make sure the children go to school rather than work in the factories.
Fund against Child Labour
The issues that affect international production chains tend to be complex. Dutch businesses are often just one link in the chain. In developing countries in particular, it may be difficult to get information about production conditions. FBK offers advice and other forms of support to Dutch businesses to help trace and combat child labour within their chains.