UNICEF and ILO in Türkiye Call for Action on Commitments to End Child Labour in Times of Crisis

12 June 2024

ANKARA, 12 JUNE 2024 - On the occasion of June 12, World Day Against Child Labour, UNICEF and International Labour Organization (ILO) in Türkiye are calling on all stakeholders to contribute to ending child labour.

Marking the 25th Anniversary of the Adoption of ILO Convention No. 182 on the Worst Forms of Child Labour (1999), UNICEF and ILO Türkiye reiterate their dedication to support public institutions, social partners, private sector and CSOs to end child labour and accelerate efforts to protect children from child labour.

According to the 2021 report of UNICEF and the ILO, globally, 160 million children[1] are still engaged in child labour, of which 79 million are in hazardous work that directly endangers their health, safety, and moral development.

Natural disasters and crises disrupt access to basic rights such as education, social protection, healthcare, and child protection push families into poverty, limit decent livelihood opportunities and force children into child labour.

Back in 2015 with the adoption of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Target 8.7, the international community made a commitment to the elimination of child labour in all its forms by 2025. Instead, it is rising, and the world seems to be failing at its promise to leave no one behind.

We are at a crossroads in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The children who are engaged in child labour are the same children who are denied an education, who suffer the worst health outcomes and have little access to clean water and sanitation. SDG 8.7, which calls for the elimination of child labour in all its forms by 2025, is linked with more than 60% of all SDGs.

UNICEF and ILO observe that in Türkiye, much progress has been made in reducing child labour over recent decades. The consecutive national programmes on elimination of child labour provided solid ground for effective contribution of UNICEF and ILO to national efforts.

In 2024, praising the past accomplishments and encouraging for more commitment, Türkiye has been recognized as a Pathfinder Country for Alliance 8.7, the global coalition dedicated to achieving UN Sustainable Development Goal Target 8.7. As such, Türkiye promises to strengthen its efforts to eliminate child labour, combat forced labour and human trafficking, as well as commit to share its experiences with the global community.

UNICEF and ILO are calling for sustained actions to protect children from economic exploitation and child labour. It is important to note that any rise in child labour is not a forgone conclusion and national strategies, as always, are critically important. With more than 700,000[2] children engaged in child labour in Türkiye, UNICEF and ILO urge the government, social partners, CSOs, international organizations and private sector to continue the national efforts and ensure safety and well-being of every child.

Paolo Marchi, UNICEF Türkiye Representative, states that “Child labour deprives children of their childhood and prevents them from realizing their potential. We need to make sure that children and their families have the instruments they need to preserve the socio-economic well-being of their children. Quality education, social protection services and better economic opportunities can be game changers. Child labour is a violation of children rights; we all have an obligation to come together to ensure its elimination.“

Yasser Hassan, ILO Director for Türkiye, states that

“We are still far from achieving the promise of the Sustainable Development Goals. Progress in reducing the number of children in child labour since 2000 is noteworthy considering that it has come against a backdrop of a large rise in the overall child population. Rapid declines in child labour in the recent past demonstrate that accelerated progress is possible to achieve. We need to move and move fast. Expanding decent work opportunities to all is critical. Investing in social protection and in quality education provide viable alternatives. We need to tackle harmful gender norms and other norms of manifestations of discrimination. Effective social dialogue is needed to translate policy priorities into specific policy measures tailored to different contexts in which child labour occurs.”

On this World Day Against Child Labour, UNICEF and ILO in Türkiye reiterate their commitment to eliminate child labour and call for all related parties to accelerate efforts to improve the wellbeing of children and families through integrated social protection interventions, supporting access to quality and inclusive educational and social services to address root causes of child labour, promotion of Children’s Rights, and Fundamental Principles and Rights At Work,  as well as the Business Principles and responsible business conduct, strengthening the prevention and elimination of child labour, through data-driven and programmatic responses to increase financing and international cooperation for the elimination of child labour.


[1] UNICEF – ILO Joint Publication (2020): Child Labour: Global Estimates 2020, Trends and the Road Forward  https://data.unicef.org/resources/child-labour-2020-global-estimates-trends-and-the-road-forward/

[2] https://data.tuik.gov.tr/Bulten/Index?p=Child-Labour-Force-Survey-2019-33807 

Media contacts

Sema Hosta
Chief of Communication
UNICEF in Türkiye
Tel: + 90 312 454 10 10
Tülay Güler
Communication Officer
UNICEF in Türkiye
Tel: +90 532 773 71 96


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