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Cablegate: Child Labor Information Update

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 ANKARA 005326

SIPDIS


A) DRL/IL PLEASE PASS TO MARINDA HARPOLE, B) DOL/ILAB
PLEASE PASS TO TINA FAULKNER


E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV ELAB EIND ETRD PHUM SOCI EAID TU
SUBJECT: CHILD LABOR INFORMATION UPDATE

REF: A. A) STATE 193266
B. B) 2002 ANKARA 7468


Classified by Political Counselor John Kunstadter for reasons
1.5 (b) and (d).


1. (U) Summary: Turkey's new labor law, drafted to conform
with European Union law, became effective June 10, 2003. It
prohibits all employment of children under the age of
fifteen; fifteen-year olds who have completed their primary
education may be employed in "light positions." Fifteen-year
olds who have completed their basic education and do not
attend school may work up to seven hours a day and no more
than thirty-five hours a week. Sixteen-year olds may work up
to eight hours a day and forty hours a week. Men under the
age of eighteen and women of any age are not permitted to
work in underground or underwater occupations. Those under
eighteen may not perform industrial work at night. Those
under the age of sixteen may not work in heavy and dangerous
occupations. It remains to be seen how effectively the
authorities will implement the law. End summary.


2. (U) Post is pleased to provide responses to questions
posed in the Department of Labor's "Request for Update of
Child Labor Information," reftel A, paragraph 8, sections A
through F.


A. Whether the country has adequate laws and regulations
proscribing the worst forms of child labor:


-- The Constitution and other relevant laws, in conformance
with ILO Convention Number 182 (ratified by Turkey in August
2001), prohibit the worst forms of child labor. The new
labor law, adopted by the Turkish parliament and published in
Turkey's "Official Gazette" on June 10, 2003, stipulates:


-- Children under the age of fifteen cannot be
employed. However, an exception permits fourteen-year olds
to perform light work as long as they continue their
education. Fifteen-year olds who have completed their
primary education may work in light jobs (as defined by the
ILO). Under the new law the Ministry of Labor and Social
Security (MLSS) is charged with developing a list of
prohibited occupations within six months. Fifteen-year olds
who have completed their basic education but do not attend
school may work up to seven hours a day or thirty-five hours
a week; sixteen-year olds may work eight hours a day and
forty hours a week. An exception permits those under fifteen
to work in provinces where agriculture is the primary
economic activity. In these cases, the provincial governor
determines the minimum work age. (Note: The European Union
has communicated its concern over this exception and,
consequently, the MLSS is reviewing the issue. End note.)


-- Men under the age of eighteen and women of any age
may not work in underground or underwater occupations.


-- Those under the age of eighteen may not perform
industrial work at night.


-- Those under the age of seventeen may not engage in
heavy and dangerous work.


-- Workers employed in heavy and dangerous positions
under the age of eighteen must have a pre-employment physical
examination, as well as follow-up examinations every six
months.


-- Workers between fifteen years of age and eighteen
years of age (including eighteen year olds) must undergo
pre-employment physical examinations as well as follow-up
examinations every six months until they are eighteen.


-- Law Number 4771, effective August 9, 2002, prohibits the
forced or slavelike employment of minors. Violators are
subject to penalties of five to ten years imprisonment and a
fine of not less than one billion Turkish lira.


-- The Penal Code and the Law on the Authorities and Duties
of the Police prohibit the sexual exploitation and sexual
harassment of minors. The Turkish Penal Code mandates a
prison sentence of at least two years for anyone who
encourages prostitution by minors younger than 15 years old
or who serves as a middle man to promote such activities.
B. Whether the country has adequate laws and regulations for
the implementation and enforcement of proscriptions against
the worst forms of child labor:


-- Turkish law requires the MLSS to monitor compliance with
the Labor Law, Approximately 100 out of 700 MLSS inspectors
are trained to review the nearly four million establishments
under the ministry's jurisdiction to assure compliance with
child labor regulations. Judicial and law enforcement
officials monitor the Penal Code and implement penalties.
Non-GOT contacts comment that Turkish laws are well-written,
but despite the authorities' good intentions, problems exist
with enforcement.


C. Whether the country has established formal institutional
mechanisms to investigate and address complaints relating to
the worst forms of child labor:


-- In addition to compliance reports from inspectors, the
MLSS is authorized to investigate individual complaints.


D. Whether social programs have been implemented to prevent
the engagement of children in the worst forms of child labor,
and to assist in removing children engaged in the worst forms
of child labor:


-- As mentioned in reftel B (fax copy sent to DOL on
08/15/2003), the GOT is seriously committed to eliminating
child labor. Children who have endured the worst forms of
child labor are considered to need special protection. This
population currently includes approximately 20,000 children,
who are supposed to be provided with care and rehabilitation
services at one of the 30 centers located throughout the
country.


E. Whether the country has a comprehensive policy aimed at
the elimination of the worst forms of child labor:


-- The MLSS's Child Labor Department has developed a national
program for the elimination of the worst forms of child
labor. A copy of this national program is being forwarded to
Washington DOS and DOL recipients by e-mail and by the ILO
Ankara office.


F. Whether the country is making continual progress toward
eliminating the worst forms of child labor:


-- Figures from the Prime Ministry's State Statistics
Institute (SSI) showed a long-term trend toward annual
decreases in the number of working children until the
2002-2003 economic period. Recent reports indicate 469,000
children between the ages of 12 and 14 worked in 2000 as
compared to 472,000 children in 1999.


3. (U) Current information to update the section about Turkey
in the 2002 Child Labor Report:


-- The SSI estimates there were 694,000 child laborers
between the ages of twelve and seventeen in the January to
March 2002 time period, in comparison with 732,000 child
laborers in January to March 2003. In the April to June 2002
time period, there were 1,026,000 child laborers between the
ages of twelve and seventeen, in comparison to 773,000 child
laborers in April to June 2002. It should be noted that
Turkey endured a severe economic downturn during the April to
June 2002 and January to March 2003 time periods. The figure
in the April to June 2003 period suggests Turkey's overall
economic conditions are improving. Direct year-to-year
comparisons between 2001 and 2002 child labor statistics
cannot be provided because the SSI changed its reporting
criteria to match the current ILO reporting format and no
longer maintains records in the previously reported
twelve-to-fourteen year old age group.


4. (U) Comment: The Turkish authorities' intentions to
improve the situation are reflected in the new law.
Implementation and enforcement remain key. End comment.
EDELMAN

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