Turkey: Child labour widespread across agricultural, construction and textile sectors

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Article
21 February 2017

Around 100,000 children in registered labor force in Turkey: Ministry

Author: Hurriyet Daily News

Around 100,000 children are in the registered labor force in Turkey, Labor and Social Security Minister Mehmet Müezzinoğlu has stated in response to a parliamentary question filed by main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Atila Sertel.The declaration came after CHP İzmir deputy Sertel asked the ministry about the situation of child labor in Turkey. “Children who work or who are forced to work in sectors from agriculture to industry, from construction to textile, are victims of loopholes in the law or of bad implementation of the laws,” Sertel wrote, asking for details on the official number of children currently working in Turkey, their age groups and sectoral presence. Noting that half of the children who are in the labor force are in the agriculture sector working as seasonal workers, Sertel asked if the ministry had any planned regulations concerning seasonal working conditions of children...the ministry stated that the Social Security Law concerning the social security of seasonal workers applies only to those are above 18 years of age. Sertel also asked about the social security conditions of working children and what kind of monitoring the ministry conducted on these conditions. The official answer...ministry officials had conducted a total of 22,413 inspections as of Dec. 21. 2016 and regular inspections showed that child labor was identified as a priority risk, while administrative fines were applied to establishments that violated the regulation provisions. Despite Sertel’s inquiry, the ministry’s response did not include figures concerning the labor condition of Syrian children who are currently residing in Turkey under refugee status.

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Article
21 February 2017

Foreign child workers exploited in sweatshops in Istanbul’s Küçükpazar

Author: Hurriyet Daily News

The Küçükpazar neighborhood of Istanbul’s Fatih district has become a center of sweatshops, where children from outside Turkey are forced to work in shocking conditions. The large commercial buildings in the narrow streets of Küçükpazar, behind the historical Süleymaniye Mosque, are today home to textile ateliers where many Syrians, Pakistanis, Iraqis and Turkmens can be spotted. Dozens of these workshops produce fake bags, mostly for export to Iraq. In one of the basement sweatshops where shirts are being produced, Hürriyet witnessed children working in conditions with no air conditioning or windows. While the proportion of migrants in the sweatshop is very high, there are very few Turkish people working. The children could not respond to questions as they could not speak Turkish well, though one of the Turkish children said he understood the questions but did not want to answer...When asked about the child workers, [manager] failed to answer for a couple of minutes before saying they receive “pocket money” and do “not officially work for the business.” “They are the children of my friends and are here to learn the job,” he said...One manager did not want to reveal which brands they were producing the clothes for. “We are producing for the market. They order what products they want and we produce accordingly. Our products are being sold in many spots in Turkey, but goods for export are generally produced in the building we’re in,” he said, adding that most of the products are exported to northern Iraq.

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