Ministry report reveals worrying extent of child labor in Turkey

A report by the Turkish Education Ministry has revealed the worrying extent of child labor in Turkey, with over 720,000 children determined to be in the workforce.

Duvar English

The Turkish Education Ministry has prepared a report on child labor in Turkey, revealing that over 720,000 children are forced to work to contribute to their household economy. 

The report presented in parliament's human rights commission said that 34 percent of the children in the workforce are in the agriculture sector, while others are in the industry and service sectors, the daily Milliyet reported on June 7.

During the presentation, Kemal Varın Numanoğlu, the ministry's Vocational and Technical Education Director General, said that 20 percent of the children are seasonal workers under the age of 15. 

According to Numanoğlu, the main reason that child labor is high is the low economic status of their families. He also claimed that plenty of families are forcing their children to work in order for them to have professions when they grow up. 

There are 260 million children in the workforce, Numanoğlu said, adding that 70 percent of child workers in the world are in the agriculture workforce. 

Last year, Turkey's Education Minister Ziya Selçuk was slammed on social media for sharing a photo of himself with a child he visited in an agricultural field and beautifying the encounter, even urging education workers to do the same.

According to the Health and Safety Labor Watch (İSİG), 22 child workers under the age of 14, and 46 between the ages of 15-17 died because of work accidents in 2020.