Ferrero supports the International Labor Organization (ILO) in the execution of a 40-month project in Turkey.
By celebrating the World Children’s Day and the thirtieth anniversary of the Children’s rights convention, the ILO and Ferrero affirm their commitment to the elimination of child labor. With more than $ 4 million of support from Ferrero, the ILO will implement a multi-year project in the Turkish provinces of Trabzon, Zonguldak and Şanlıurfa, designed to support the extraction of children currently working in the sector, as well as to prevent others from entering it.
Within the framework of the public-private partnership between the ILO and Ferrero, the project will work with the ILO’s tripartite constituencies (the government, as well as workers ‘and employers’ organizations) to support knowledge sharing on what works to address child labor, particularly in the hazelnut supply chain, and to maximize learning opportunities. The ultimate goal of this process is to enhance the capacity of national and local stakeholders to take the necessary steps to eliminate child labor.
Numan Özca, Director of the ILO Office for Turkey, stated that with this partnership they will be able to expand their current intervention and cover all hazelnut harvesting areas in Turkey. He added: “I am sure that the project will be a concrete example of a partnership between a global private sector actor, Ferrero, and the ILO that applies best practices in Turkey and also generates knowledge and lessons learned with global impact“.
The project is also committed to establishing and expanding direct intervention mechanisms to end child labor in the seasonal hazelnut harvesting areas, as well as to sensitize the general public, national and local stakeholders, and chain agents. supply on the importance of eliminating child labor.
“Ferrero recognizes the value and importance of a partnership to address child labor. The ILO, as a specialized agency of the United Nations, has the knowledge and experience to understand how to participate effectively. This project is based on the work carried out since 2013 through our participation in the ILO-Caobisco public-private partnership, and supports the actions that we will undertake next year in order to be a driving force in a hazelnut industry that generates value for all“Said Marco Gonçalves, Ferrero’s director of hazelnut purchases.
Despite the decreasing trend in the number of children in economic activity, child labor has been documented as a problem in Turkey. According to the 2019 Child Labor Force Survey of the Turkish Institute of Statistics (TurkStat), 720,000 children aged 5 to 17 years, that is, 4.4% of Turkey’s total child population, were engaged in economic activities. Of these, 30.8% carried out economic activities in the agricultural sector. Children who work are exposed to occupational hazards that can lead to chronic, lifelong health problems. Furthermore, the children of seasonal agricultural workers are more likely to experience interruptions in their education. Such disruptions can reinforce a low-skilled and / or unskilled workforce, which subsequently contributes to perpetuating poverty.
The ILO has been providing technical support and implementing projects responding to child labor in seasonal agriculture, in particular in the hazelnut sector, in Turkey through public-private partnership projects since 2012, in collaboration with the Ministry of Family, Work and Social Services. This new public-private partnership project, co-chaired by Ferrero and the Ministry, will further complement existing ILO activities dedicated to elimination of child labor in Turkey. The elimination of child labor in all its forms has been a priority of the ILO since the organization’s inception in 1919.