Child Labor in Turkey: Situation of Syrian Refugees and the Search for Solutions

revised: 10.03.2016

Date: March 11, 2016 Friday
Time: 9.30-17.30
Place: santralistanbul Campus, E1-301

The conference is organized by Support to Life, İstanbul Bilgi University Center for Migration Research and UNICEF; and funded with support from Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe and the Swiss, Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).

The conference will address the living conditions of the one million working children in Turkey in light of the current situation and the legal framework surrounding the issue. Furthermore, it aims to explore the issue of working Syrian children that is becoming ever prevalent with the increasing number of refugees due to the humanitarian crisis induced by the war in Syria. Relevant stakeholders, including governmental institutions, non-governmental organizations and academics among others, will meet to discuss durable solutions for the struggle against child labor. The outputs of the conference will create the basis of the advocacy campaign on the issue of eliminating child labor and will be shared with the decision-making bodies as well as the public opinion.

RSVP: Please confirm your attendance until the end of the day on 5 March 2016 by sending an email to the address

During the conference English – Turkish simultaneous interpretation will be provided.


09:30 - 10:00 Registration

10:00 - 12:00 First Session: Examining the issue of Child Labor in Turkey
Moderator Assoc. Prof. Pınar Uyan Semerci (İstanbul Bilgi University Center for Migration Research)

  • Legal framework and the current conditions in the struggle against child labor in Turkey - Seda Akço (Humanist Bureau)
  • Field work experiences with children working in seasonal agriculture (Ordu and Düzce) – Dr. Bülent İlik (Başkent University/Support to Life)
  • Displacement from Syria and the current situation of refugee children - Iraz Öykü Soyalp (UNICEF)
  • Approaches of ILO: Interventions and policies that address the children in the context of their social environment – Nejat Kocabay (ILO)

12:00 - 13:30 Lunch Break

13:30 - 15:00 Second Session: Different Faces of Child Exploitation in the Aftermath of the Syrian Refugees’ Arrival to Turkey
Moderator Dr. Sema Genel Karaosmanoğlu (Support to Life)

  • At the lowest end of the labor market: Syrian workers – Prof. Kuvvet Lordoğlu (Kocaeli University)
  • Assessment data on Syrian child workers living in Istanbul – Prof. Ayhan Kaya (İstanbul Bilgi University)
  • Education and work among Syrian children living in Hatay and Şanlıurfa – Sezen Yalçın (Support to Life)
  • Lost Generations: The situation of refugee children in Adana – Prof. Adnan Gümüş (Çukurova University)

15:00 - 15:30 Coffee Break

15:30 – 17:30 Third Session: Course of Action in the Struggle Against Child Labor
Moderator Assoc. Prof. Serra Müderrisoğlu (Boğaziçi University)

  • Coordination in the struggle against child labor – Senior Advisory of the Prime Minister for Migration and Humanitarian Aid – Ercan Mutlu
  • Integration of Syrian children to national initiatives – Ministry of Labor and Social Security – Elif Bor, Zeynep Daldal
  • Protection of children living and working on the street – Ministry of Family and Social Policies – Emin Eraslan
  • Tools to protect refugee children - Elif Selen Ay (UNHCR)