Cablegate: Turkey: Update of Worst Forms of Child Labor
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
011235Z Sep 05
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ANKARA 005107
DEPT PLS PASS GENERALIZED SYSTEM OF PREFERENCES COLLECTIVE
PASS TO THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR, DOL/ILAB FOR TINA MCCARTER
AND DRL/IL FOR LAUREN HOLT
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ELAB EIND ETRD PHUM SOCI USAID
SUBJECT: TURKEY: UPDATE OF WORST FORMS OF CHILD LABOR
INFORMATION FOR MANDATORY REPORTING REQUIREMENTS
REF: STATE 143552
1. Turkey has made a commitment to eliminate child labor as
it pursues its EU membership bid. The GOT's short-term goal
is to limit and improve the conditions under which children
work. The GOT's long-term goal is to increase access to
basic and vocational education as a means of improving the
future prospects of working children and withdrawing them
from employment while they are children.
2. Post is pleased to provide responses to questions posted
in the Department of Labor's "Request for Update of Worst
Forms of Child Labor Information for Mandatory Reporting
Requirements," reftel, paragraph 7, sections A through E.
A. Whether Turkey has adequate laws and regulations
proscribing the worst forms of child labor:
--Besides implementing provisions stipulated in the Turkish
Constitution, Labor Law No. 4857, the General Health Care Act
No. 1593, the Code of Obligation, the Apprenticeship and
Vocational Training Act No. 3308, the GOT signed an MOU to
eliminate child labor under the International Program on the
Elimination of Child Labor (IPEC). The initial commitment
was renewed through September 2006. Turkey also ratified the
main ILO conventions 138 and 182 pertaining to child labor.
In line with Convention 182, the GOT initiated a policy to
eradicate the worst forms of child labor: Time-Bound Policy
and Program Framework for the Elimination of the Worst Forms
of Child Labor (WFCL) in Turkey.
B. Regulations for implementation and enforcement of
proscriptions against the worst forms of child labor:
--The above-mentioned laws contain implementation provisions
which also mention public agencies in charge of
implementation and monitoring. There is also an Emergency
Action Plan and the 8th 5-year Development Plan. In early
2005, the Prime Ministry issued a circular to all public
offices, instructing how to guide children working in the
streets to education. The circular was assigned to five
ministries, and the ministries have begun work designed to
totally eliminate the worst forms of child labor within 10 to
--The Labor and Social Security Ministry, Child Labor
Department, has been tasked with implementing the provisions
in support of elimination of the WFCL. The Labor Ministry's
Labor Inspectors Board monitors the implementation of the
Labor Law. The Labor Inspectors Board's duty is defined by
ILO Convention 81. The GOT allocates resources to
investigate child labor cases across the country.
Approximately 100 of the 700 field inspectors have been
trained to handle child labor issues, while the total number
of establishments falling within the jurisdiction of the
Ministry of Labor is almost four million. The Ministry of
Labor's records do not categorize child labor-related
--The GOT has been conducting awareness-raising and training
activities for officials in charge of enforcing child labor
laws. There were Time-Bound meetings in Izmir, Kizilcahamam
and Abant in September, November-December 2004 and April-May
C. Whether there are social programs to prevent and withdraw
children from the worst forms of child labor.
--The GOT has been working with the EU (extensively with the
German Labor Ministry), unions, other NGO's, all employers
and workers' groups and universities to prevent children from
entering exploitive work situations. The GOT has developed a
minimum of 105 projects since 1992. The GOT has allocated
USD 15 million for such projects for 2005 through 2007. The
U.S. Department of labor has provided six million USD of this
amount in grant form for a project working to eliminate child
labor in agriculture through education from 2004-2008.
--Under the Law on Social Services and Child Protection
Institution, No. 2828, children who are subject to the WFCL
are placed under the protection of the state. Care and
rehabilitation services are provided (including dormitories)
to those children at 30 centers around the country.
--The GOT provides support to international and national
projects promoting children's access to primary schooling and
to enhance the quality and relevance of schooling. EU and
World Bank projects are underway, as well as national
campaigns, including "Come On Girls, To School!" and "Child
Friendly Education Project."
--The National Basic Education Law adopted in 1997 mandates
compulsory education through the eighth grade. This rule has
had a substantial positive impact toward eliminating child
labor. The GOT is committed to ensuring full implementation
of the Basic Education Law, and the Ministry of Education is
making strong efforts in this direction. Provincial
governors are authorized to monitor student attendance
through local offices and violators of the legislation are
subject to prosecution under the judicial system.
D. Does the country have a comprehensive policy aimed at the
elimination of the worst forms of child labor?
--In 2002 the GOT prepared a comprehensive national program
called Time-Bound Policies and Program for the Elimination of
WFCL. The GOT has been making public statements and
commitments to eradicate WFCL.
--The GOT increased the level of resource allocation to the
Child Labor Unit of the Ministry of Labor and Social
Services. Staff levels have increased from three to 12 in
2005. Depending on the projects initiated, this number could
E. Is the country making continual progress toward
eliminating the worst forms of child labor?
--The only official figures are polls conducted by the State
Statistics Institute in 1994 and 1999. Those polls show that
there was a regular decrease in the number of working
children every year. The biggest reason for the decline in
the figures is the implementation in 1997 of compulsory
8-year education. Labor Ministry officials believe that
8-year mandatory education reduced the child labor figures by
half. Detailed and up-to-date information is necessary to
close the knowledge gap as to the nature, magnitude,
consequences and emerging trends in the WFCL. The Child
Labor Unit has been expressing this need.
--Labor Ministry officials noted that work conducted across
the country, the increase in press coverage of the issue, and
the emphasis on eliminating child labor by public
institutions are clear examples of constant improvement in