UNICEF Türkiye remains committed to support and strengthen national strategies to eliminate child labour

Globally, 160 million children - almost one in ten children - are still engaged in child labour.

12 June 2023
Child labour
UNICEF/UN020184/Anmar

ANKARA, 12 June 2023 – Child labour remains one of the most common child rights violations in the world. Globally, 160 million children - almost one in ten children - are still engaged in child labour. Despite the progress and achievements made over the past two decades, the number of children engaged in economic activities increased all over the world due primarily to the COVID-19 Pandemic. UNICEF estimates that 9 million additional children are at risk of entering child labour to compensate for losses in household income. 100 million more children have fallen into poverty due to socio-economic impacts of the pandemic. As poverty increases, so does child labour. [1]

The UNICEF-ILO joint report (2023) “More than a billion reasons: The urgent need to build universal social protection for children” underlines the power of social protection in preventing child labour by reducing poverty and vulnerabilities. The evidence from another UNICEF-ILO Report“  is also clear: child sensitive social policies especially when backed up by sustainable and equitable financing addresses root causes of child labour, decreases the number of children working, and increases school enrollment.

Over nearly 3 decades, Türkiye has made steady progress in combatting child labour. However, according to TURKSTAT, more than 700.000 children are still engaged in economic activities.[2] Challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic, the recent earthquakes, and inflation are likely to impact Türkiye’ s efforts in eliminating child labour and reverse the gains made. The recent earthquakes have disrupted the education of nearly four million school children, including 350,000 refugees and migrants, who are now at a higher risk of being forced into child labor. UNICEF and partners warn that communities affected by the earthquakes may face increased vulnerabilities as result of loss of health and income, disruption of employment and livelihood opportunities. Families falling into poverty may revert to child labour as a negative coping mechanism to increase household income. At the same time, employers may revert to child labour to decrease their production costs. It is estimated that earthquakes are likely to disrupt the economic activities of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the affected communities. Given that SMEs are key business allies for preventing child labour, UNICEF will continue to pay special attention and support them in the reconstruction agenda. In 2022, UNICEF and its partners ensured 4,500 workplace visits were conducted. As part of these visits, 3,000 children at risk were identified and referred to educational and other appropriate public services.

On World Day Against Child Labour, UNICEF Türkiye reiterates its commitment to eliminate child labour and accelerate efforts to improve the wellbeing of children and families. UNICEF will continue to support integrated social protection interventions and promote access to quality and inclusive educational and social services to address root causes of child labour and prevent its recurrence. To support recovery and reconstruction in the provinces affected by the earthquakes, UNICEF is working with government, civil society, private sector, and donors in a   coordinated post-earthquake recovery where children are at the focus of all socio-economic plans, and labour markets can be built back better and without 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

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Sema Hosta
Chief of Communication
UNICEF in Türkiye
Tel: + 90 312 454 10 10

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