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Refugee children forced into labor in Turkey

Children of Syrian migrants who reached Turkey no long face the threat of missiles exploding overhead
Syrian migrant children conscripted into sweat shops 02:57

ISTANBUL - The European Union on Tuesday approved a quota system for relocating 120,000 refugees across the continent. It's just a fraction of those who have surged into Europe to escape war and poverty -- many from Syria.

In a basement in Istanbul, a textile factory hums with activity -- staffed almost entirely with Syrian children.

Filming with a hidden camera, CBS News found workshop after workshop in Turkey's biggest city -- all using Syrian refugees -- some as young as 10.

One boy said he came from war torn Aleppo. He's now safe from barrel bombs and terrorists -- but not from exploitation.

Refugees flee, remaining struggle in war-torn Syria 03:52

Syria's nightmarish civil war has driven millions of people from their homes -- including more than 2 million who fled across the border to Turkey.

But poverty has compelled many refugee families to send their children to work -- turning their sons and daughters into breadwinners.

One of them is Hussein Omar -- who fled Syria last year after his neighborhood was shelled.

At 10 years old he told us he works a 12 hour day, sometimes six days a week -- selling vegetables.

Inside Syria: The war's southern front 02:31

Hussein told CBS News he doesn't know how to read or write and he only had one year of school before the war began. He says he wants to learn.

But as long as Syria's civil war rages -- the chances of Hussein ever getting an education are slim. His wages of $25 a week help buy bread for his family of nine.

CBS News filmed Hussein with a hidden camera at work in the market. A little boy, toiling long hours for low pay and a bleak future. Like so many other boys and girls -- still victims of a war they came here to escape.

Many of the Syrians now making their way across Europe first sought refuge here in Turkey -- and in some cases stayed for several years. But with little hope of a better life for their children there, it's no wonder that tens of thousands have paid smugglers to get them to Europe.

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