More than 720,000 minors in labor force in Turkey: report

Two children collecting garbage pull their cart on a street in Ankara on January 12, 2021. Adem ALTAN / AFP

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 Turkish Ministry of Education, the Turkish Parliament’s Committee for Children’s Rights and the Ministry of Health.

The report was presented in parliament last week according to the Birgün daily. Kemal Varin Numanoğlu, director general for vocational and technical training at the Ministry of Education, said more than 20 percent of the minors in the labor force were under the age of 15. Numanoğlu added that the main reason behind the child labor was poverty.

The report said the majority of minors work in the industrial and service sectors, followed by agricultural labor.

The working conditions of minors have been harshly criticized for being dangerous and exploitative. According to data from the Turkish Health and Safety Labor Watch (ISIG), eight minors died in April 2021 alone, and three minors have died to date in June.

A recent report by the Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK) said many minors worked in damp and moldy environments. It said they work in places where there are harmful gases and chemicals, and 10 percent of minors in the labor force had developed problems due to heavy lifting.

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