8-year-old refugee boy hospitalized after leg is mangled at work

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An 8-year-old Afghan refugee boy was hospitalized in Turkey’s western Kırklareli province after his leg was mangled by a piece of equipment at work on Friday, the Ileri haber news website reported.

As the world is preparing to commemorate Refugee Day on June 20, harrowing stories of refugee children’s suffering continue to emerge from Turkey. In this case, the boy, whose name was not disclosed, was referred to a hospital in İstanbul for treatment.

According to the Evrensel daily child refugees work in poor conditions and for minimum wages in İstanbul. Children as young as 9 were working for TL 450 (€ 43) a week. Most children are thin and some have deformed fingers as a result of the kind of work they have to do.

During interviews conducted by Evrensel, some children said they only went to school for a couple of years and could not continue because they had to work up to 12 hours a day.

According to a survey by the Leather, Textile and Shoe Workers Association in western İzmir province, refugee children are exploited in Turkey. The association interviewed 100 refugee children, of whom only 43 percent said an adult in their household had a stable job.

The pandemic has also worsened the children’s lives in Turkey. During the pandemic only 35 percent of them had access to education, whereas before the pandemic that number was 63 percent. Many children also said they were unsure about continuing their education after the end of the pandemic.

According to the survey 58 refugee children have died in workplace accidents in the last eight years.

In Turkey, more than 720,000 minors have to work to contribute to their household income and 440,000 do not have any access to education, according to a recent report prepared jointly by the Ministry of Education, the Turkish Parliament’s Committee for Children’s Rights and the Ministry of Health.

At least 513 child laborers have lost their lives in workplace accidents in the country in the last eight years, according to a report by the Health and Safety Labor Watch (İSİG).

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