Eradicating the worst forms of child labour
The problem of child labour, in particular its worst forms, is one of the most important that Turkey, as a country in transition, needs to address. In 2001, Turkey ratified an International Labour Organisation convention calling for the prohibition and elimination of these forms of child labour for all under-18s as a matter of urgency. In Turkey, the worst forms of child labour are in seasonal agricultural work, in small- and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs) under hazardous conditions, and in street work. Despite valuable efforts to date, there remains considerable scope for mainstreaming child labour issues in sectoral plans and creating synergy at all levels to combat this complex social problem.
The project’s aims and core activities
This project aimed to enhance capacity at the national and regional levels to remove children from the worst forms of child labour and prevent at-risk children from entering such work. By the end of the programme, which consisted of seven main parts, the capabilities of the Child Labour Unit (CLU) at the Ministry of Labour, Social Services and Family to plan, manage, coordinate, monitor, and implement child labour-related activities at the national and local levels had been enhanced.
In order to obtain a clearer picture of the problem, a baseline survey was conducted in seven provinces (Çankırı, Elâzığ, Erzurum, Kastamonu, Ordu, Sinop, Van) on children aged 6-17 engaged in the worst forms of child labour.
In the same provinces, programme coordination offices were created and equipped with educational, withdrawal, preventative, monitoring, and counselling services for working children and their families. Education and counselling services were provided for at least 1,000 children targeted for child labour and their families.
A preventative approach to the problem was boosted by the setting up of comprehensive child labour monitoring systems (including input from schools in some cases), carefully adapted to the needs of each locality. An extensive awareness-raising drive involving newsletters, pamphlets, posters, audio and video cassettes, and films was also carried out.
Overall, the project, which was implemented with the technical assistance of the International Labour Organisation, contributed to Turkey’s realisation of its international commitments to eliminate the worst forms of child labour.