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Forced to Work

Photographer: Ulas Yunus Tosun


Clashes between the forces of the Islamic State of Iraq (ISIS) and the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) have been ongoing for more than a month in Kobane, Syria. About 200,000 refugees fleeing the conflict migrated to Turkey and settled in the city of Sanliurfa. Nearly half of these Syrian refugees are children. While some families are temporarily relocated in unoccupied buildings or in refugee camps of the Suruc district, other families have the possibility to stay with relatives.


Many children, under the age of 18, have no choice but to work in order to financially support their families. They mostly work between 7 and 12 hours per day, in clothing stores, restaurants, repair shops, bakeries, or food markets. Their very low income is about five Turkish liras (about 1.7 euros) a day or twenty Turkish liras (about 7 euros) a week. The number of these young Syrian workers at the Turkish border keeps growing every day.