The Laborers’ Health and Occupational Safety (İSİG) Assembly has released a report on the occasion of June 12 World Day Against Child Labor.
The report has shown that at least 26 child workers have lost their lives in the first five months of 2019. Accounting for 18 percent of Turkey’s population, children’s participation in labor force increased to 21 percent in 2018.
Referring to figures previously shared by the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat), the Assembly has stated, “Though there are only labor force statistics on children between the ages of 15 and 17, the number of child workers increased by 7 thousand in 2018. Though it was declared the ‘Year for Struggle Against Child Labor’, 2018 became the year when the highest number children were subjected to occupational homicides.”
‘Lack of inspection and impunity’
According to the figures shared by the İSİG Assembly, the number of child laborers who lost their lives in occupational homicides were as follows by years: 59 children in 2013, 54 children in 2014, 63 children in 2015, 56 children in 2016, 60 children in 2017, 67 children in 2018 and at least 26 children in the first five months of this year.
“One of the reasons for the spread of child labor to such an extent in Turkey is other policies of the state in this field as well as a lack of inspection and policy of impunity,” the Assembly has underlined further and added, “The Ministry of Family, Labor and Social Services detected violations of child labor only in 416 workplaces across Turkey since 2010.”
‘Girls exploited as unpaid family workers’
Some highlights from the İSİG report are as follows:
- The provinces where the highest number of children lost their lives in occupational homicides are Urfa, İstanbul, Antep, Antalya and Adana. In these provinces, child population, agricultural labor and refugee population are high.
- Four of the 26 child workers who lost their lives in 2019 so far were refugees/ migrants.
- Four of the 26 deceased child workers were girls. Girl children are exploited in agricultural sector, especially as unpaid family workers.
‘Children as young as 8 die in agricultural sector’
- It is seen that children as young as 8-10 lose their lives in agricultural sector where unpaid family labor and child labor are widespread. The half of the children who died in occupational homicides were working in agricultural sector. While 43 percent of the deceased children were working at the industry sector, the remaining seven percent were working at services sector.
- Nine of the children who died in occupational homicides in 2019 so far were at or under the age of 14. Children at or under this age are strictly prohibited by the law from working.