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Cablegate: Turkey: Information On Forced Labor and Child

VZCZCXYZ0001
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHAK #1060/01 1611157
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 091157Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY ANKARA
TO RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHDC
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6507

UNCLAS ANKARA 001060

SIPDIS

STATE FOR DRL/ILCSR: MARK MITTELHAUSER AND G/TIP: STEVE
STEINER; LABOR FOR DOL/ILAB RACHEL RIGBY AND MIHAIL SEROKA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ELAB EIND ETRD PHUM SOCI
SUBJECT: TURKEY: INFORMATION ON FORCED LABOR AND CHILD
LABOR IN THE PRODUCTION OF GOODS

REF: A. STATE 43120
B. 07 ANKARA 2965

1. (U) Post consulted with GOT officials, representatives of
organized labor, employers' organizations, and ILO
representatives in Turkey in an effort to determine the level
and nature of the use of child and forced labor in the
production of goods, per request in ref A. Post is aware of
one report of several individuals from Turkmenistan who were
involved in forced labor in the construction industry in
Turkey, but post was unable to uncover any evidence of the
use of forced labor in the production of goods here. The use
of child labor undoubtedly continues in some sectors of
Turkey's economy, but the GOT continues to make strides
toward its goal of reducing the overall incidence of child
labor, as well as eliminating the worst forms of child labor
in Turkey by 2014, as reported in ref b.

2. (U) Reliable data that accurately portray the true level
of the use of child labor in Turkey are difficult to find.
According to a 2006 study conducted by Turkey's State
Statistics Institute, the number of children aged 6-17
thought to be engaged in some form of economic activity was
958,000. Of these, the study estimates that just over half
of those children (about 500,000) engage in work in rural
areas. Officials of the Turk-Is labor confederation and the
Turkish Confederation of Employer Associations (TISK), which
have conducted their own studies on the use of child labor in
Turkey, conducted a joint 2002 study on the incidence of
child labor in the agricultural sector in the Adana area.
According to estimates from that study, well over half of
Turkey's working children are employed in the agricultural
sector. Most are unpaid workers in a family farming
business, while upwards of 200,000 children are reportedly
engaged in agricultural work as a result of being born into
migrant worker families. These children are employed in
seasonal work in crop harvesting, forestry activities, and
animal husbandry.

3. (U) According to data provided by the Ministry of Labor
and Social Security's Labor Inspection Board, in calendar
year 2007, a total of 27,500 work places were inspected for
workplace health and safety. In those inspections, a total
of 2279 children were found to be working in various
enterprises. 2182 of these were engaged in employment as
part of approved apprenticeship programs tied to vocational
schools, while 97 were employed outside the realm of an
associated educational program (no further information was
available on the places of employment of those 97.) More
complete data provided by the Board for 2006 indicates that a
total of 61,113 workplaces were inspected. 26,617 workplaces
were inspected for workplace health and safety, while another
34,496 workplaces were inspected with a view toward overall
working conditions (work hours, salaries, leave, etc.). In
all of these inspections, a total of 2697 children were found
to be working in 2006. Of these, 1074 were working in
commercial offices, 659 in the production of wood products
and furniture, 68 in electrical repair services, 61 in shoe
production, 47 in educational and health services (museums,
libraries, health institutions), 40 in auto repair services,
34 in metal goods production, 31 in the construction
industry, 21 in the weaving industry, 21 in the production of
roofing tiles/bricks, 14 in the production of machinery, 12
in foodstuff processing, and 11 in the chemical industry.
Nearly all of these children are employed in small businesses
which employ between one and ten workers, which generally are
not registered.

4. (U) The employment of children in these enterprises,
specifically in shoe production, furniture production, metal
goods production, and roof tile and brick production, as well
as in auto and electrical repair services, is illegal under
Turkish law unless it occurs as part of an approved
vocational program. When children were discovered to be
working in such enterprises through Labor Board inspections,
employers were told to enroll the children in approved
apprenticeship programs so that the children could continue
their education. Labor inspectors then informed National
Education Ministry officials about the children so that they
could be tracked. Employers also received fines for
employing children outside an approved apprenticeship
program.

5. (U) While the data cited above points to some incidence of
the use of child labor in the production of some goods in
Turkey, the nature of children's involvement in that
production is impossible for post to discern. Equally
difficult for post to determine is whether that work was
necessarily exploitative. For example, while 61 children may

have been involved in shoe production as discovered in
inspections in 2006, post was unable to obtain information
regarding the hours worked by those children, their ages,
whether any were also attending school, etc.

6. (U) As a result, post is unable to obtain or provide
specific data that points to widespread use of either forced
or exploitative child labor in the production of goods in
Turkey.

7. (U) However, the continued use of labor provided by
children of migrant worker families in the agricultural
sector, particular in southern/southeastern Turkey, remains a
concern. Post does not have data to point to the degree of
use of child labor in harvesting/processing specific crops,
but anecdotal evidence points to continued involvement of
children in harvesting cotton in southeastern Turkey, as well
as involvement in the harvesting of tobacco, sugar beets, and
hazelnuts. The 2002 Turk-Is/TISK joint survey of migrant
worker families in the Karatas District of Adana Province was
undertaken to obtain both qualitative and quantitative data
on the nature, conditions, and effects of employment on the
health, education, and development of children engaged as
seasonal laborers in cotton harvesting. It was, however,
conducted on a geographically small basis from which it is
difficult to extrapolate the scope of the problem nationally
in that sector. Children of migrant worker families have
been, and continue to be, the focus of efforts by the
Ministry of Labor and Social Security, and the Ministry of
National Education, together with ILO/IPEC and USDOL through
sponsored programs, to reduce and eventually eliminate their
involvement.

Visit Ankara's Classified Web Site at
http://www.intelink.sgov.gov/wiki/Portal:Turk ey

WILSON

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