Cablegate: 2004 Child Labor Update

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

261617Z Aug 04




E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: A. STATE 163982

B. 03 ANKARA 5326

1. (U) In response to reftel A, Embassy Ankara submits this
report to update its August 2003 report on child labor in

2. (U) In pursuing its EU candidacy Turkey continues to work
to eliminate the worst forms of child labor (WFCL). The
information in this telegram builds upon material provided in
reftel B. In June 2003, for example, the Turkish government
addressed this problem by enacting a more stringent labor
code, including provisions related to child labor. As
planned, in 2004, the Ministry of Labor and Social Services
(MOL) compiled a list of prohibited occupations for children
(defined as persons who are up to fourteen, but not yet
fifteen years old) and youngsters (those between fifteen and
eighteen years old, but not yet nineteen years old); in May
2004, the MOL published a list of permitted occupations for
children and youth. Asserting that the GOT's efforts have
virtually eliminated instances of children between the ages
of 12 and 14 years old engaged in the WFCL, the GOT's State
Statistics Office (SSO) plans to eliminate employment data
about this age group.

3. (U) SSO sampling conducted in 2004 indicates there are
14,455,000 children between the ages of 7 and 17 years in
Turkey; 12,224,000 or 84.6 percent are currently attending
school. At the same time, there are 7,405,000 children (10.6
percent of the population) between the ages of 12 and 17
years in Turkey; 6,494,000 children or 87.7 percent are not
working, while 911,000, or 12.3 percent are employed. Among
working children, 52.5 percent were thought mostly to be
working in agriculture on family farms during summer
vacations. 23.7 percent worked in industrial jobs. In 2003,
769,000 children, or 14.4 percent of this age group, were

4. (U) The GOT has increased the level of resource
allocation to the Child Labor Unit (CLU) of the MOL, most
notably in the allocation of larger office space and
additional staff. The CLU office currently consists of three
people and there are plans to have twenty-five people working
on this issue by the end of 2004. The CLU is headed by a
labor inspector who personally conducts on-site visits.

5. (U) While current legislation mandates fines and jail
sentences for violations of child labor regulations, the CLU
staff is using family support programs to provide vocational
training, jobs and income assistance to parents, and at the
same time educating the child and assisting with expenses for
clothing, school supplies and transportation. The CLU says
that since 1992 it has helped 25,000 families involving
50,000 children. The Prime Ministry's Social Assistance and
Solidarity Fund for Social Risk has 1800 branches throughout
the country which are taking part in a World Bank-funded
initiative to assist families in the campaign against the
WFCL. The CLU conducts information sessions for parents
about the real costs of child labor. The CLU distributed
Turkish and English language pamphlets and booklets about its
work to end WFCL in information sessions. The Ministry of
Education supports an Apprenticeship Training Center program
combining work and classroom attendance intended primarily
for youngsters who have completed primary school and are at
least fifteen years old.

6. (U) In 2005, the MOL plans to embark on a two-phase,
four-year 18 million euro joint project with the EU and the
International Labor Organization to extricate children from
the WFCL and send them to school. At the same time, this
project will pay all school expenses for students and provide
vocational training for parents. The GOT hopes to eradicate
WFCL within four years under this program.

7. (U) The CLU looks forward to the announcement of the U.S.
Department of Labor's Time-Bound grant to help it combat the

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