Last Updated: Tuesday, 01 December 2015, 13:36 GMT

U.S. Department of State 2003 Trafficking in Persons Report - Turkey

Publisher United States Department of State
Author Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
Publication Date 11 June 2003
Cite as United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2003 Trafficking in Persons Report - Turkey, 11 June 2003, available at: [accessed 2 December 2015]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Turkey (Tier 3)

[*Please note: Turkey was updated to Tier 2 per President George W. Bush, Presidential Determination No. 2003-35, September 9, 2003.]

Turkey is a destination country for persons trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation and labor. It is also a country of transit to other European destinations, for women and girls trafficked into sexual exploitation. Most victims come from countries of the former Soviet Union, including Azerbaijan, Georgia, Armenia, Russia, Ukraine, and Moldova.

The Government of Turkey does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and it is not making significant efforts to do so. Overall, the government is to be commended for the new anti-trafficking criminal article and the law enforcement efforts, including strengthening immigration laws, which were made within a relatively short amount of time. However, the government's progress was slow in the past year, particularly in the areas of prevention and protection – – namely, deportation without screenings – – and those areas need significant improvement.


The government did not implement any trafficking-specific preventive campaigns, but it evidenced some increased political will to address the trafficking issue. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs chairs an inter-agency task force on trafficking. The task force does not meet regularly but drafted a national action plan that the government adopted in April 2003. The government amended its law on foreigners to allow a centralized system of work permits for foreign nationals entering Turkey under legitimate programs. The new law will authorize foreigners to work as domestics, something currently practiced illegally. The government actively monitors its borders, but they are long and porous and difficult to monitor in some regions. Turkey's cooperation with source countries was reportedly limited, although improvement efforts were initiated in the spring of 2003.


The government amended its criminal code in the past year to prohibit trafficking in persons (Article 201/b). The law prescribes serious penalties that are increased with aggravating circumstances. As of April 2003, six trafficking cases were opened in Turkish Penal Courts pursuant to the new article, against a total of 17 suspects. In two cases, the court ruled for acquittal, finding three defendants not guilty and determining that the two alleged victims had not been illegally trafficked. The other four cases are ongoing. In these cases, 14 suspects will be on trial and 12 people have filed a complaint against them. More trafficking-related arrests were made in the past year and referred to the courts, but no convictions were reported under previously existing laws. The Ministries of Justice and Interior conducted training on the anti-trafficking legislation.


The government does not have a system for victim identification and protection; however, according to the Ministry of Interior, seven foreign citizens exposed to trafficking were issued a humanitarian visa (one month temporary residence permit). Five additional people were offered the humanitarian visa but declined and requested to leave Turkey. The government supports shelters for Turkish victims of domestic violence and while it claims they can be used to serve trafficking victims, this has not yet occurred in reported cases. Some local law enforcement officers reportedly find accommodation for victims out of their personal expense. Turkey's cooperation with source countries was reportedly ineffective, and the government continued to deport potential victims as criminals without consistently ensuring their true nationality and without proper screening as victims. The government does not have a repatriation program, and its discussions with IOM were unsuccessful.

Search Refworld