Cablegate: Turkey: Update On Worst Forms of Child Labor


DE RUEHAK #2965/01 3481432
R 141432Z DEC 07





E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: A. STATE 158223

B. STATE 149663

1. Turkey continues its efforts to eliminate all forms of
child labor, increasing access to basic and vocational
education to improve the prospects of children currently
working, and withdrawing them from employment while they are
children. Post provides new information below in response to
the request for updated information on those efforts conveyed
in refs a and b, paragraph 9, sections A through E.

A. Laws and regulations proscribing the worst forms of child

-- Turkey continued to implement provisions stipulated
throughout Turkish law regarding the elimination of child
labor, as well as its cooperative agreement with the ILO's
International Program on the Elimination of Child Labor
(IPEC), the commitment to which was extended in 2006 through
September 2011. Turkey's efforts in this area are primarily
coordinated through the GOT's Time-Bound Policy and Program
Framework for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child
Labor, which is designed to totally eliminate the worst forms
of child labor in Turkey by 2014. In addition, Turkey
ratified the Council of Europe's Social Charter in October
2006, which further underscores the rights of children in
Turkey. The employment of children and enforcement of
restrictions on such employment is regulated through a number
of laws, including the umbrella Labor Law, General Health
Law, Police Duties and Authorities Law, Apprenticeship and
Vocational Training Law, Primary Education and Education Law,
Debts Law, Unions Law, and Social Security Law. Turkey
ratified ILO Convention 182 in 2001 and has developed a list
of occupations considered to be the worst forms of child
labor as called for in Article 4 of the Convention. Three
categories of child labor classified as worst forms of child
labor are found in Turkey, including: seasonal agricultural
work; dangerous conditions in small and medium sized
enterprises; and, child labor in the streets. There were no
new laws promulgated in 2007 specific to child labor.

B. Regulations for implementation and enforcement of
proscriptions against the worst forms of child labor:

-- Turkish laws addressing the child labor issue contain
implementation provisions which specifically mention public
agencies in charge of implementation and monitoring. For
example, Labor Law 4857 states that Ministry of Labor and
Social Security inspectors are the responsible officials for
the enforcement of child labor laws. There are 600
inspectors carrying out such duties throughout Turkey, all of
whom have been trained to identify under-age children in the
workplace and avenues of redress in such instances. Legal
remedies stipulated in several different articles of law
include the removal of children from workplaces, fines levied
against employers, and closure of places of business
employing under-age children. There is an Emergency Action
Plan on child labor and a nation-wide economic Development
Plan -- the ninth in a series of such plans -- designed to
map out GOT priorities and programs in the economic and
social fields over the next six years. This Development Plan
also incorporates efforts aimed at combating the worst forms
of child labor.

-- The GOT continued to conduct awareness-raising and
training activities for officials in charge of enforcing
child labor laws.

C. Whether there are social programs to prevent and withdraw
children from the worst forms of child labor:

-- The GOT continues to provide care and rehabilitation
services to children subject to the worst forms of child
labor at 44 centers located throughout the country (up from
30 such centers in 2005).

-- With financial support from the European Union and
technical support from the ILO, a project to eliminate the
worst forms of child labor, administered by the Ministry of
Labor and Social Services and initiated in 2005 in seven
provinces (Cankiri, Elazig, Erzurum, Kastamonu, Ordu, Sinop,
and Van), was completed in 2007. 4,460 children benefited
from the project, with 1,830 teachers trained to help
identify children at risk of dropping out of school through
use of a school-based child labor monitoring system, and
another 1,935 teachers and school administrators received
education to raise their awareness of the problem.

-- In another EU-supported project supporting implementation
of the Time-Bound Policy, efforts begun in 2005 in 20
different provinces (Adana, Ankara, Antalya, Batman, Bursa,
Cankiri, Corum, Diyarbakir, Elazig, Erzurum, Gaziantep,
Istanbul, Izmir, Kastamonu, Kocaeli, Mardin, Ordu, Sanliurfa,
Sinop, and Van) were completed in 2007. Under the auspices
of this project, over 25,000 children who were working or at
risk of dropping out of school to work were directed to
educational programs or provided incentives to remain in
school. Parents of the children also received vocational
training to increase their access to employment.

-- Turkey's largest labor union confederation, Turk-Is, and
its largest employers union confederation, TISK, started a
joint project in 2007 in Adana entitled "Societal Cooperation
Project Against Child Labor." The project is designed to
prevent children from becoming involved in the worst forms of
child labor as well as to direct children who are exposed to
such labor to basic education programs. The project
specifically focuses on children in the agriculture and
furniture production sectors, as well as those who work in
the streets. The project, designed to continue for a period
of 16 months, will bring rise to a joint Turk-Is/TISK Child
Bureau to bring greater focus to the child labor problem.

-- In September 2007 TISK, in cooperation with ILO, organized
a regional conference in Istanbul designed to enable
participants to share experiences and lessons learned in the
struggle to eliminate the incidence of child labor.
Representatives of 12 countries in the region attended the
conference and issued a declaration pledging determination to
eliminate the child labor problem.

D. Does the country have a comprehensive policy aimed at the
elimination of the worst forms of child labor:

-- Information provided last year on the Time-Bound Program
remains current, with awareness-raising efforts on the part
of MOLSS' child labor unit continuing. The Ministry
distributed information through various media, including
calendars, handbooks, leaflets, magazines, and CDs to public
institutions, labor union and employers union confederations
and other NGOs designed to raise the profile of the child
labor issue in Turkey and gain additional support to decrease
its incidence.

E. Is the country making continual progress toward
eliminating the worst forms of child labor:

-- Turkey is making steady progress toward its goal of
eliminating all incidences of child labor for children under
the age of 15, as well as all incidences of the worst forms
of child labor, by 2014. In 2006, ILO identified Turkey as
one of three "most successful" countries in eliminating the
worst forms of child labor.

-- Turkey's State Statistics Institute conducted a survey on
families in 2006, released to the public in 2007, which
included some data on child labor. However, the study makes
no specific reference to the level of incidence of worst
forms of child labor. According to the survey, the number of
children in the 6-17 year old age group engaged in economic
activity in 2006 was 958,000. Of those, 320,000 were in the
6-14 year old age group, and 638,000 in the 15-17 year old
age group. Compared to figures from similar studies
conducted in 1994 and 1999, the number of children aged 6-17
engaged in economic activity has steadily decreased (2.27
million in 1994, 1.63 million in 1999, 958,000 in 2006). In
percentage terms, whereas 15.2% of Turks aged 6-17 were
engaged in some form of work in 1994, that number had
decreased to 10.3% in 1999, and 5.9% in 2006.

-- In the 2006 study, just over 40 percent of the total
958,000 children aged 6-17 were engaged in agricultural work,
while the remaining 59 percent worked in other undefined
sectors of the economy. 53 percent of the children found to
be working in the survey did so on a fee-for-service or
salaried basis, while 44 percent worked for free or as part
of a family business, and 3 percent were self-employed.

-- According to 2006 data, there were 16,264,000 children
aged 6-17 in Turkey. 13,772,000 or 84.7% of 6-17 year olds
in Turkey attended school. 2,492,000 or 15.3% did not attend
school. Of those attending school, 302,000 (or 1.9% of the
total age group) were engaged in economic activity, 5,896,000
(or 36.3% of the total age group) engaged in household
chores, and 7,574,000 (or 46.6% of the total age group) did
not work. Of those not attending school, 656,000 (or 4% of

the total age group) engaged in economic activity, 1,106,000
(or 6.8% of the total age group) engaged in household chores,
and 730,000 (or 4.5% of the total age group) did not work.

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