There are approximately 2 million child workers in Turkey this Universal Children’s Day on November 20. 340 more of these child workers have lost their lives within the last seven years of the tenure of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). Children in Turkey have increasingly become the victims of work-related deaths; while the government hands them over to Islamic sects and cults where they suffer sexual abuse. Under the AKP government, 1 million children have fallen into the grip of these sects and cults; as the number of lawsuits involving cases regarding the sexual abuse of children has increased 700 percent within the last 10 years.
At least 62 child workers have lost their lives in Turkey in 2018 alone, according to a report prepared by the Occupational Health and Safety Council (İSİG) for this United Nations Universal Children’s Day on November 20th. The youngest of these child workers was only 8 years old, as the report indicates.
The report, referring to the AKP government’s declaration of 2018 as the Year of Fighting Child Labour in Turkey, states that ‘‘the truth cannot be concealed! Children die working in Turkey even as the government ostensibly prepares programs based on delusional statistics… 2018, declared as ‘the Year of Fighting against Child Labor’ by the government, is also poised to be the year with the most child deaths in work-related accidents. This occurs because of how child labour in Turkey is regulated in order to satisfy the capitalist class.’’
The report indicates that 59 children in 2013, 54 children in 2014, 63 children in 2015, 56 children in 2016, and 60 children in 2017 lost their lives due to occupational murders in Turkey.
Of the 62 children who lost their lives in 2018, 10 were the refugee and migrant children. The fact that the mortality rate of refugee children is 3-4 times higher than the death rate of all migrant workers across the country combined demonstrates the violence and brutal working conditions refugee children face, even compared to other workers facing similar conditions.
According to the report, the rate of girls that are killed in child labour-related ‘accidents’ is 11 percent, almost two twice the rate of female workers who died in general occupational murders. This situation primarily results from the extensive exploitation of girls, especially in the agricultural sector.
CHILD LABOR INCREASED BY 20 PERCENT IN TURKEY
Child labour has increased by 20 percent under the AKP government’s tenure in Turkey, according to another report prepared by Tekin Bingöl, the Ankara Deputy of the parliamentary main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP).
The report underlines that the number of private schools has increased by 10 times, as the number of students attending these private schools increased by 12 times, under AKP rule. Nearly 1 million children in Turkey are forced to be taught by Islamic sects and cults.
A third of these dramatically increasing private educational institutions are affiliated to Islamic cults. The number of Islamic Imam Hatip High Schools increased to 1,408 in 2017. This figure was 450 in 2002.
TURKEY WORLD’S NUMBER THIRD IN CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE
The initial report highlights that the cases of child abuse are significantly increasing in Turkey. The country ranks third in the world in the sexual abuse, harassment and rape of children. An average of 8,000 children in Turkey suffers from sexual abuse every year, according to the report.
46% of sex crimes in Turkey are committed against children. The report indicates that 482,908 girls have been forced to marry with the approval of the government in the last 10 years, while 142,298 children have given birth within the last 6 years. Most of these children were married with religious marriage ceremonies.
The report also shows that 440,000 children under 18 gave birth to a child since 2002, while 15,937 children under 15 gave birth as a result of sexual abuse.