Thousands of unregistered children working in Turkey: Report

Thousands of unregistered children working in Turkey: Report

Thousands of unregistered children working in Turkey: Report

The total number of child workers, aged 15-17, were 708,000 in 2016, slightly lower than the 716,000 in the previous year, according to a report prepared by the Education and Science Workers’ Union (Eğitim-Sen) for National Sovereignty and Children’s Day on April 23, the anniversary of the foundation of the Turkish Parliament. 

The corresponding figures were 601,000 and 709,000 for 2012 and 2014, respectively.

The Eğitim-Sen report notes that students that receive vocational education and work as interns in the service sectors, particularly in the tourism industry, and students enrolled in apprenticeship training programs, are not counted as “child workers.”

The report cited the data from the Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK), which shows 78 percent of child workers were unregistered as of 2016.

According to the Eğitim-Sen report, three child workers, who were employed as farm laborers, were killed in 2018.

Lower schooling rate among females 

The rate for females enrolled in distance learning programs at the secondary education level has increased to 62 percent, the report said, adding that 51.3 percent of all students attending formal education institutions were male and 48.7 percent were female in the 2016-2017 education period.

The corresponding rates for private schools were 54.3 percent and 48.7 percent, respectively.

The number of religious vocational schools (imam hatip) in the country increased to 1,408 in 2017 from 450 in 2002.

According to the report, 97.4 percent of female students dropped out of school because they were married or engaged.

The report also said there are 850,000 Syrian school-age refugee children in Turkey. Over 490,000 of Syrian children are enrolled in schools across Turkey, while 380,000 of Syrian children are attending school.

Child abuse cases 

The number of court cases regarding child abuse has tripled in the past decade, while there was a 50 percent increase in cases over the past five years, the Eğitim-Sen report also said, citing data from the Justice Ministry.

On average, 8,000 children are sexually abused each year, while 17,000 child abuse cases are filed in court. Suspects are not convicted in 45 percent of those cases.

In the last 10 years, the state allowed a total of 482,908 underage females to be married, the report said. Some 142,298 underage females have given birth in the past six years, it added.

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