ILO: Over a quarter million child laborers working in Turkey

A total of 292,000 children between the ages of six and 14 are employed in Turkey, according to a press statement released by the International Labour Organization (ILO)oinciding with Fridayand’s World Day Against Child Labour.
A total of 893,000 child laborers were found to be at work in Turkey when examining the six to 17-year-old age group. The ILO estimates that 120 million children between the ages of five and 14 are employed worldwide.
and”This persistence of child labor is rooted in poverty and lack of decent work for adults, lack of social protection, and a failure to ensure that all children are attending school through the legal minimum age for admission to employment,and” said the ILO in its press statement. The organization said that this yearand’s World Day Against Child Labour theme is, and”No to child labour, yes to quality education.and”
The ILO has observed the World Day Against Child Labour every year on June 12 since 2002.
A major component of Turkeyand’s child labor crisis stems from the agricultural sector. The sector employs entire families of seasonal laborers, and children work alongside their families in the fields despite labor laws forbidding this practice. The widespread nature of this practice has rendered laws obsolete in certain areas where elementary school age children can be found on the job.
The 2014 Traveling Seasonal Agricultural Labor Report — which was released by the humanitarian agency Support to Life in December of last year based on research conducted between 2012 and 2014 — revealed disconcerting statistics about seasonal workers and child laborers in the agricultural sector.
According to the report, 71 percent of agricultural laborers aged 16 to 18 and 86 percent of those aged 19-25 had abandoned their education. Fifty percent of agricultural workers under the age of 18 had dropped out, compared to the 21 percent drop-out rate of children not employed in the sector.
In its statement, the ILO called on Turkey to ensure and”free, compulsory and quality education for all children at least to the minimum age for admission to employment and action to reach those presently in child labor, new efforts to ensure that national policies on child labor and education are consistent and effective [and] policies that ensure access to quality education and investment in the teaching profession.and”
A report released this April compiled by opposition Republican Peopleand’s Party (CHP) deputy Umut Oran indicated that there were as many as 1 million child laborers in Turkey. Oran pointed to numerous insufficiencies in the Turkish education system as being the primary reason for the high number of underage workers.
In his report, Oran highlighted the insufficient distribution of state funds for education, citing the need for an extra 228,000 classrooms and underlining that class sizes can be as large as 50-60 students. The report also states that students in Turkey are far from reaching the average level in mathematics, science and reading recommended by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).