U.S. Department of State 2005 Trafficking in Persons Report - Turkey

Turkey (Tier 2)

Turkey is a transit and destination country for women and children trafficked primarily for sexual exploitation. Some men, women, and children are also trafficked for forced labor. There has been increasing evidence of internal trafficking of Turkish citizens for forced labor and sexual exploitation. Most victims come from Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, including Moldova, Ukraine, Russia, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Georgia, Romania, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Belarus.

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. Over the last year, the government stepped up its training of law enforcement personnel to increase victim identification and end the automatic deportation and removal of victims. As a result, Turkish officials have improved their screening and identification of victims. However, the government needs to take more preemptive steps to ensure that there is a corresponding increase in convictions and sentences for traffickers. Despite the government's increased efforts to raise understanding of the trafficking phenomenon, the level of awareness among some members of the judiciary and the general public remains low. The Turkish Government should continue to strengthen its efforts to actively pursue a focused public awareness campaign reaching out to victims, law enforcement, and customers.


The Government of Turkey has taken substantial measures over the past year to improve its enforcement efforts. In October and December 2004, Turkey made significant revisions to its penal code and code of criminal procedures, including expanding investigative tools in trafficking cases and increasing punishments for traffickers. The government funded domestic and international anti-trafficking operations, specifically for training. In 2004, this covered more than 400 police, 120 Jandarma, and 160 judges. The government reportedly initiated 142 prosecutions for suspected trafficking crimes during 2004, a large increase over 2003 figures. Five cases for which information was provided produced convictions. The government failed to provide detailed follow-up information on the remaining cases. There were some reports of law enforcement officials receiving bribes that facilitated illegal prostitution. No officials were arrested or prosecuted for involvement in trafficking in 2004, though two police officers in Istanbul were charged with trafficking in March 2005. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Turkish Government and Belarus came into effect in September 2004 to allow for anti-trafficking joint investigations and cooperation. The MOU facilitated a successful operation leading to arrests in both countries.


The Government of Turkey has taken significant steps to halt past practices of automatic deportation of victims. The police and Jandarma are actively cooperating with an NGO shelter and implementing a protocol for victim referrals. As a result of training and awareness campaigns, law enforcement successfully identified 265 victims in 2004, an exponential increase over the handful identified in 2003. Furthermore, IOM repatriated 62 foreign victims in 2004, up from only two the previous year. The government has implemented a new policy to provide full medical assistance to victims of trafficking. In addition, the government issued humanitarian visas to 13 victims, allowing them to stay in Turkey and receive government services.


The Turkish Jandarma printed and distributed 9,000 anti-trafficking brochures to police precincts and citizens throughout Turkey. Although the government established a hotline for trafficking victims in 2004, it has not yet implemented a large-scale, targeted information campaign. Most recently, the government publicly launched its 2005 counter-trafficking campaign, which is too recent to show results.


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