U.S. Department of State 2007 Trafficking in Persons Report - Turkey
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Author||Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons|
|Publication Date||12 June 2007|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2007 Trafficking in Persons Report - Turkey, 12 June 2007, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/467be3dfc.html [accessed 30 May 2015]|
Turkey (Tier 2)
Turkey is a major destination and transit country for women and children trafficked primarily for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation. A small number of men from Turkey were trafficked to the Netherlands for the purpose of forced labor in 2006. Women and girls are trafficked from Moldova, Russia, Ukraine, and other countries in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. This year victims were also trafficked from Kenya, Nigeria, and the Philippines. Some of these victims are trafficked through Turkey to the area administered by Turkish Cypriots for the purpose of sexual exploitation.
The Government of Turkey does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. In 2006, the government amended its law to increase penalties for trafficking offenses and to increase victims' rights and access to assistance. Turkey also increased its total number of trafficking investigations, prosecutions, and convictions over the last year. The Government of Turkey should continue to improve victim identification procedures, and collect and consolidate trafficking data. It should also vigorously investigate, prosecute, convict, and sentence government officials complicit in trafficking. Finally, the Government of Turkey should ensure judicial officials receive victim identification and sensitivity training.
The Government of Turkey significantly advanced its law enforcement efforts over this reporting period. Article 80 of the penal code prohibits trafficking for both sexual exploitation and forced labor. The penalties prescribed for trafficking have been increased to 8 to 12 years' imprisonment, which are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with prescribed penalties for other grave crimes, such as sexual assault. Turkish authorities conducted 422 investigations, a significant increase from 241 investigations in 2005. The government prosecuted 192 suspects in 2006, up from 144 prosecuted in 2005. Convictions were obtained against 36 traffickers in 2006, up from 29 convictions in 2005. Twenty-nine traffickers received prison sentences ranging from one month to six years; six traffickers only received fines. One trafficker's sentence was unconfirmed. During the reporting period, the police continued an internal anti-trafficking training program, reaching 1,150 additional police officers. While the government arrested some low-level officials for trafficking, no officials were prosecuted or convicted over the reporting period.
Turkey continued to improve its victim assistance efforts over the reporting period. Turkish authorities successfully implemented procedures to identify trafficking victims among women in prostitution, although there were reports that the government continued to process some trafficking cases as voluntary prostitution and illegal migration. Although the government does not provide a government-run shelter, it provided rent, utilities, and administrative costs for two NGO-run trafficking shelters. Police work closely with IOM to identify and refer victims to trafficking shelters, ensuring that victims have access to protection services. Foreign victims identified by Turkish authorities may apply for humanitarian visas and remain in Turkey for up to seven months, although no visas were granted during the reporting period. The government encourages victims to participate in trafficking investigations and prosecutions; however, this does not seem to be systematically implemented. In July 2006, a judge ordered a police-identified victim to be deported because she had overstayed her visa. Turkey promoted and advertised a government-run trafficking hotline during the reporting period; 109 victims were assisted due to calls to the hotline during the reporting period, up from 52 victims in 2005.
The government demonstrated strong prevention efforts. In 2006, the government contributed $100,000 to an international public awareness campaign focused on the Black Sea region. Authorities continued to distribute small passport inserts to travelers entering the country at designated ports-of-entry, although there was concern about whether this method of informing potential victims was the most effective. Turkish embassies also continued to hand out trafficking awareness inserts to visa applicants in source countries.