U.S. Department of State 2006 Trafficking in Persons Report - Turkey
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Author||Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons|
|Publication Date||5 June 2006|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2006 Trafficking in Persons Report - Turkey, 5 June 2006, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4680d8b657.html [accessed 12 July 2014]|
Turkey (Tier 2)
Turkey is a major destination and transit country for women and children trafficked primarily for sexual exploitation and, to a lesser extent, forced labor. In 2005, IOM's office in Turkey reported that 60 percent of cases identified involved victims from Ukraine and Moldova; other victims are trafficked from throughout Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. Reports of trafficking within Turkey continued. Turkish traffickers used violence to control their victims, often using threats against victims' families as a powerful form of coercion.
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. The Turkish Government actively investigated cases of trafficking in 2005 and continued to screen potential trafficking victims, increasing the number of identified and repatriated victims during the year. However, the application of this screening appeared uneven; IOM reported that many trafficking victims were not identified prior to their deportation by Turkish authorities. The number of government prosecutions decreased in 2005 and courts acquitted or dismissed cases against a significant number of suspected traffickers. The Turkish Government should improve the screening of potential victims and ensure they are fully informed of their rights. The government should take steps to improve its investigations and judicial awareness of trafficking, fully implement the revisions to the penal code to strengthen punishments for trafficking, and encourage victims to assist in investigations.
The Government of Turkey made modest, but uneven, progress in its efforts to punish trafficking crimes over the last year. Turkish authorities investigated 166 trafficking cases against 241 suspects in 2005. The government prosecuted 48 cases involving 144 suspects during the reporting period, a decrease from 142 cases in 2004. Turkish courts increased the number of trafficking convictions to a total of 29 traffickers in 2005, nine of whom received sentences of four to five years' imprisonment. The remaining 20 convicted traffickers received probation or fines. Seventy-five of the suspected traffickers prosecuted were acquitted and 40 other cases were dismissed or remanded to other courts. Of the 379 suspects arrested for trafficking, 134 were released and 105 escaped in 2005. The government continued to train its police to improve its law enforcement response to trafficking. During the reporting period, the Jandarma trained 206 new officers in targeted trafficking districts. In addition, 120 officers attended training that focused on investigative techniques, sensitive treatment of victims as witnesses and ways to cooperate with NGOs. The government improved its capacity to cooperate on trafficking cases with source countries by signing anti-trafficking protocols with Georgia, Ukraine, and Moldova. During the reporting period, some source country governments reported that the Turkish Government failed to respond to requests for bilateral assistance. Reports of Turkish law enforcement officials facilitating illegal prostitution and trafficking continued, although there were no reported investigations of official complicity in trafficking in 2005. The government continued its prosecution of two police officers charged with trafficking in March of 2005.
The Turkish Government improved protection for victims of trafficking over the last year. In October 2005, Ankara authorities renovated and opened a second trafficking shelter in the country. Local government officials continued to provide the rent and administrative costs for its shelter in Istanbul. Combined, both shelters reported assisting 134 victims in 2005. International organizations and NGOs reported repatriating a total of 220 victims in 2005, a significant increase from 62 in 2004. The government issued eight humanitarian visas to allow victims to stay in Turkey and receive government services, a decrease from 13 issued the previous year. The government continued to provide full medical assistance to victims of trafficking. Although the government has a screening and referral system in place, IOM reported 249 trafficking victims were identified outside Turkey after their likely deportation in 2005. Notably, the Ministry of Interior is investigating IOM's claims that some victims of trafficking are not provided with legal alternatives to their removal to countries where they face hardship or retribution.
The Turkish Government launched a national multi-lingual anti-trafficking hotline in May 2005. This hotline helped rescue 52 victims from their traffickers. Throughout the reporting period, Turkish authorities at key border crossings and consular officials abroad distributed small passport inserts to travelers to publicize the hotline and warning signs of trafficking. The Turkish Jandarma printed and distributed an additional 150,000 copies of their anti-trafficking brochures to police precincts and citizens throughout Turkey in 2005.