African Journal of
Agricultural Research

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Agric. Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1991-637X
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJAR
  • Start Year: 2006
  • Published Articles: 6638

Full Length Research Paper

Child labor under the worst conditions: Child laborers in cotton production in Turkey

Bulent Gulcubuk
Department of Agriculture Economics, Faculty of Agriculture, Ankara University Turkey.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 13 May 2010
  •  Published: 18 June 2010


As is the case throughout the world, child labor is a serious problem in Turkey. Healthy and happy new generations are among the prerequisites of a modern society. Among child laborers those in the agricultural sector stand out due to the conditions under which they work. Families who own no or only little land or do not earn enough from their own farm business to subsist move to seasonal work, where there is more agricultural work available, in order to earn a better living. Seasonal agricultural worker families take their children with them when they temporarily move for seasonal work due to economic and social necessity. As a result, children engage in agricultural work inappropriate to their age in order to contribute to the family income. In Turkey, more than 40% of child laborers work in agriculture. These children work intensively in cotton, hazelnut, citrus fruits, sugarbeet and tobacco production, especially hoeing and harvesting in different regions in Turkey. A substantial portion of children working under the worst conditions are younger than 15, and according to ILO regulations, not at working age and not supposed to engage in this kind of work. Most of these children who are totally deprived of education or who cannot continue or not start education due to seasonal work, live in especially the Southeast and East Anatolia Regions and live far from home for 4 - 7 months a year in tents lacking basic needs.


Key words: Agricultural Labor, child labor, child labor in agriculture, seasonal work, mobile labor.