Turkey declares 2018 ‘year of the battle against child labor’
The Prime Ministry on Feb. 20 published a memorandum declaring 2018 to be the “year of the battle against child labor,” aiming to raise awareness of the globally and nationally wide-spread, systematic victimization of the children.
The memorandum, published in the Official Gazette and signed by Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım, also declared the government’s intention to create more effective policies against the crime by the implementation of the “National Program against Child Labor,” expected to run until 2023.
“The duration [of the programs] were determined together with the organizations that will cooperate with or take responsibility for the activities aiming to tackle child labor,” the statement read.
The policies were determined by bringing together the needs of children in Turkey specifically and the international children’s rights declarations, the memorandum stated, adding that activities will be monitored by “Monitoring and Evaluation Council” meetings twice a year.
With the declaration, all government departments and organizations will be bound to provide all necessary support or help to tackle the problem, the statement added.
Turkey’s child labor problem
Diyarbakır Bar Children’s Rights Commission member Asiye Demir on Nov. 20, 2017 blasted Turkey’s record on child workers, after 11 bar associations in Turkey raised concerns over the rising number of child sexual abuse cases.
In a statement released to mark Universal Children’s Day, Demir said the number of child workers in the country was 708,000 in 2016, according to data from the Turkish Statistics 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 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,” she also said.
A victimization method without borders
More than 150 million children, or nearly one in 10 globally, are victims of forced labor and progress in reducing that number has slowed, according to the United Nations’ labor agency, the International Labour Organization (ILO).
Nearly half of children in forced labor do hazardous work and more than a third do not go to school, said an ILO report published in September 2017.
Although the number of child laborers has fallen by 94 million since 2000, the decline slowed from 2012 to 2016, it added.