Lawyers raise concerns over rising number of child sexual abuse cases in Turkey
Eleven bar associations in Turkey have raised concerns over the rising number of child sexual abuse cases, in a statement released to mark Universal Children’s Day.
The number of child sexual abuse cases has risen by 700 percent in the past 10 years and 18 out of 100 people who got married in 2016 were children, according to the statement.
“Some 15,051 cases were filed over child sexual abuse in 2016 alone. Considering the fact that only 15-20 percent of the cases are actually reflected in the judicial system, the gravity of the situation becomes clearer,” southeastern province of Diyarbakır Bar Association head Ahmet Özmen said.
The number of girls in Turkey forced to marry has reached 482,908 over the past 10 years, he added.
“A total of 17,789 girls between the age of 15 and 17 and 244 girls under the age of 15 have given birth,” Özmen also said.
Diyarbakır Bar Children’s Rights Commission member Asiye Demir also blasted Turkey’s record on child workers.
“The concept of child workers has become a normal situation in Turkey, as it is elsewhere in the world. The fact that child labor is cheaper and that employers want to avoid legal obligations has made child labor more attractive,” Demir said.
She also said the number of child workers in the country was 708,000 in 2016, according to data from the Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK).
“Child labor has brought child work killings with it. A total of 56 children died in work accidents in 2016 alone. The child labor problem that has existed in our country for many years has grown with the Syrians who have taken refuge in Turkey,” Demir added.
The United Nations’ Universal Children’s Day was established in 1954 and is celebrated on Nov. 20 each year to promote international togetherness, awareness among children worldwide, and improving children’s welfare.
Since 1990, the day also marks the anniversary of the date that the U.N. General Assembly adopted both the declaration and the convention on children’s rights.