Online fashion retailer Asos has joined forces with a non-profit organisation to help tackle labour abuses in global garment supply chains.

It has formed a partnership with GoodWeave International, which is dedicated to ending child labour, forced labour and bonded labour in the textile industry around the world.

The two will focus on improving conditions at fashion clothing and accessories suppliers in India, applying GoodWeave’s ethical approach to key Asos suppliers.

Three Asos suppliers in India will be enrolled in the programme initially, with further companies added in the months ahead. Each supplier will undergo audits and unannounced inspections by dedicated GoodWeave staff trained to identify potential risks and issues of forced, bonded and child labour.

Rather than just focusing on the final-stage manufacturing facility, GoodWeave works to trace back each stage of a product’s manufacturing journey, including to subcontractors and home-based workers – a key risk area for fashion apparel and accessories manufacture in India and often an invisible source of bonded, forced and child labour.

The new assessment strengthens Asos’s current approach to understanding and addressing risks of child labour and modern slavery through auditing and local engagement, and builds on its other non-governmental partnerships working in this space, including The Centre for Child Rights and Business in China.

Adil Rehman, head of ethical trade at Asos, said: “There can be no place for forced, bonded or child labour in the fashion industry, but these risks are always present within complex global supply chains.

“With this new partnership with GoodWeave, we’re taking our modern slavery and ethical trade work one step further through assurance and deep supply chain mapping, helping us to ensure that workers are protected and their rights respected.”

Nina Smith, CEO at GoodWeave International, added: “For nearly three decades GoodWeave has advanced working conditions in the rug and textiles sector, and we are proud to be launching this partnership targeted at apparel and accessories supply chains together with Asos.

“A number of reports indicate that child labour and modern slavery are high risk in India’s garment industry. To combat this problem and meet the requirements of increased human rights due diligence legislation globally, it’s critical that fashion businesses partner with organisations like GoodWeave to prevent hidden exploitation in outsourced, subcontracted supply chains.”