Country of Origin Information Report


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24 Trafficking

24.01 The US State Department Report (USSD) 2007, published on 11 March 2008, noted that:
“The law prohibits all forms of trafficking in persons; however, there were reports of trafficking in women and children to the country for the purpose of sexual exploitation. There were allegations that official corruption contributed to the trafficking problem… Allegations that government officials, police and Jandarma officers participated in human trafficking continued during the year. The courts initiated cases against a number of such officials, several of which were ongoing at ’year’s end.” [5g] (Section 5)
24.02 The Freedom House report, Countries at the Crossroads 2007 – Turkey published 25 September 2007 noted that “Turkey is a destination and transit country for trafficking in women and children for prostitution and forced labor. The government has been making serious efforts to curb human trafficking, including a hotline number for victims and numerous arrests. The 2005 penal code includes an article mandating prison terms for traffickers.” [62c]
24.03 The US Department of State ‘Trafficking in Persons Report’, released on 4 June 2008 stated that:

“Turkey is a significant destination, and to a lesser extent, transit country for women and children trafficked primarily for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation… Women and girls are trafficked from Moldova, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Bulgaria, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Romania for sexual exploitation. This year, three victims were reported trafficked to Turkey from outside of Eastern Europe and Eurasia—from Morocco, Tunisia, and Sri Lanka. Some victims are reportedly trafficked through Turkey to the area administered by Turkish Cypriots for the purpose of sexual exploitation.” [5i]

24.04 As highlighted in the IOM (International Organisation for Migration) document ‘Republic of Turkey Migration Profile’, dated September 2007:
“Turkey is a major destination for human trafficking for sexual exploitation because of its proximity to main source countries… Majority of the victims of human trafficking identified in Turkey are between 18 to 24 years old, with mainly secondary school education… A small number of men from Turkey were trafficked to the Netherlands for the purpose of forced labour in 2006… More than one third of women trafficked to Turkey are mothers with children and illegal profits from trafficking top more than 1 billion USD annually. The vast majority of victims recruited to Turkey had a personal relationship with their recruiter.” [86a]
24.05 The US State Department Report (USSD) 2007 Trafficking in Persons Report published 4 June 2008 noted that “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 government significantly increased its law enforcement response in 2007 by convicting and punishing more traffickers. It further improved interagency and NGO cooperation and continued to institutionalize and implement comprehensive law enforcement training. In addition, the Government of Turkey made efforts to address trafficking-related official complicity among law enforcement. However, a lack of secure and consistent government support for Turkey’s trafficking shelters frustrated solid improvements in Turkey’s anti-trafficking efforts.” [5i]

24.06 The USSD 2007 Trafficking in Persons Report published 4 June 2008 noted that “The Government of Turkey demonstrated strong anti-trafficking law enforcement and prosecutorial efforts during the reporting period. Article 80 of the Penal Code prohibits trafficking for both sexual exploitation and forced labor, and prescribes penalties of eight to 12 years’ imprisonment, which are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with prescribed penalties for other grave crimes, such as sexual assault.” [5i]

24.07 The USSD 2007 Trafficking in Persons report also noted that “The government reported convicting four traffickers during 2007 under its recently amended Article 80… In addition to the four Article 80 convictions, the government, in 2007, prosecuted 160 suspects and convicted 121 trafficking offenders, a dramatic increase from the 36 convicted in 2006. Penalties imposed on traffickers convicted under Article 227 averaged three years’ imprisonment and included fines, some of them substantial.” [5i]
24.08 The NGO 2006 compiled by Ankara Child Rights Initiative however stated that “Although the magnitude of the problem of child trafficking is not fully known, considerable efforts have been observed addressing the problem of human trafficking in Turkey... For example, Dutch Foundation for Missing Children reported that for the last four years, 36 children were abducted to Turkey only from the Netherlands.” [80b] (p5)

24.09 In addition the 2006 US State Department Report (USSD) report on Human Rights Practices published 6 March 2007 noted that “A 20 year-old Moldovan woman recounted a common trafficking scenario. She was promised work as a restaurant waitress by a close friend. Upon arrival in the country, her friend abandoned her at a hotel. An Azerbaijani woman arrived and told her she had been sold for $3,000 and would have to pay back the money over five months of prostitution. She worked with four other girls at the same hotel. Clients beat her regularly. She was forced to service 15 clients per day, often without protection. She became pregnant. Police rescued the victim and six other women after she called the trafficking hotline from a ’client’s mobile phone. All were identified as victims of trafficking and received shelter and assistance.” [5h]

24.10 On 1 July 2008 the Turkish Daily News reported ‘Turkey launches campaign to combat human trafficking’ stating that:
“Human trafficking is a problem that has gone beyond international borders…The European Commission-funded campaign is being implemented by the International Organization for ’Migration’s, or OIM, Turkey office in close cooperation with the Turkish government. The two-year project aims at providing support to Turkish institutions in their fight against human trafficking, and protecting victims in line with EU directives… On the same day as the launch, a short promotional TV film and radio spot, titled ‘React to Human Trafficking, Don't Be Indifferent!’ was introduced for broadcast on television and radio channels nationwide. The film draws attention to the crime of human trafficking and ’Turkey’s 157 emergency hotline for the rescue of the victims.” [23d]
24.11 The European Commission 2007 Progress report on Turkey published 6 November 2007 noted:
“Progress continued in combating trafficking in human beings. A legislative amendment was made on the offence of human trafficking to allow for effective judicial implementation. The Minister of Interior issued a circular to all personnel working on the cases of human trafficking followed by a handbook on the subject. 422 traffickers were arrested in 2006 and 279 more as of end of September 2007. The free emergency helpline for trafficking victims, which rescued 122 individuals as of end of September 2007, was opened to international calls.” [71c] (p65)

24.12 The EC 2007 further recorded that “In 2006, 246 persons were identified as victims and returned voluntarily to their countries of origin. In the first nine months of 2007, 124 were identified as victims. 101 of those returned voluntarily to their countries of origin. Victims of trafficking continued to benefit from two shelters run by civil society organisations. Protocols on cooperation and information exchange for the fight against human trafficking were ratified with Kyrgyzstan and with Moldova. Awareness raising and training activities to enhance the combating of trafficking in human beings need to be conducted.” [71c] (p66)

See also Section 28.01 Foreign Refugees
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Support and assistance
24.13 The US State Department Report (USSD) 2007 Trafficking in Persons Report published 4 June 2008 noted:
“The government continued its victim assistance efforts; however international donors stepped in to help remedy a funding shortfall for one trafficking shelter during the reporting period. Although there was no interruption in core services, a funding shortfall forced one shelter to forego staff salaries and divert other resources in order to finance these core services. A lack of consistent and guaranteed funding for Turkey’s trafficking shelters weakened the government’s overall protection efforts in 2007. The government has reported that it is focused on finding a long-term financial solution to this problem.” [5i] (Country narratives – Turkey)
24.14 The USSD 2007 Trafficking report also noted that:

“The government encourages victims to participate in trafficking investigations and prosecutions, offers them free legal assistance, and offers legal alternatives to their removal to countries where they would face retribution or hardship. Foreign victims may apply for humanitarian visas and remain in Turkey up to six months with the option to extend for an additional six months; the government issued three humanitarian visas for victims in 2007. The government does not punish identified victims for crimes committed as a result of being trafficked. The government took steps to ensure the responsible and secure repatriation of trafficking victims by following specific exit procedures and contacting governments about their documentation and notifying them of subsequent repatriation.” [5i] (Country narratives – Turkey)

24.15 The IOM document ‘Republic of Turkey Migration Profile’, dated September 2007 also noted that “In 2003 an amendment was made to the Citizenship Law in order to prevent foreigners marrying Turkish citizens and claiming Turkish citizenship simply through a declaration at the time of marriage. This puts an end to traffickers exploiting this provision for their benefit. .. The National Task Force on Combating Trafficking in Human Beings has been established in 2002… Turkey’s first Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking was prepared by the Task Force and is being currently implemented.” [86a]
24.16 The Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs website last updated on 10 July 2008 in ‘Turkey’s Fight against Illegal Migration’ noted that due to the magnitude of the problem, the solutions are beyond the means of a single country, requiring international burden sharing. Providing shelter, food, medical treatment as well as bearing the return costs of such high numbers of illegal immigrants puts a heavy financial burden on Turkey’s resources.
Statistical Data on Illegal Migration: Nearly 700.000 illegal migrants were apprehended in Turkey within the period 2005-2007. One of the main features of illegal immigration is the fact that it is being conducted by sorganised networks.


Apprehended Illegal Migrants

Apprehended Human Smugglers










24.17 The Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs last updated on 10 July 2008 also added that “Due to her unique geographical position, Turkey is a destination country. Victims of THB are mostly from old Soviet Republics and the Statistical Data is as follows:

Fight Against THB*

Number of rescued victims

Number of voluntarily returned

Number of accommodated in shelters

Number of human traffickers apprehended





















* Trafficking in human beings is frequently confused with human smuggling. Human smuggling is to assist for profit purposes, persons who do not possess a permanent residence in Turkey to enter and reside illegally and Turkish nationals to exit the country illegally.

** The number of the victims of human trafficking who accommodated, had medical and psychological assistance in shelters between November 2004-December 2004.” [60b]
24.18 The Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs last updated on 10 July 2008 further noted that, “On 19 December 2006 ‘forced for prostitution’ is included in the description of THB in article 80 of Turkish Criminal Code. Thus, forced prostitution, the most important dimension of human trafficking, will be punished with this article. Positive outcome of the amendment of the Article 80 is expected by the beginning of 2008.” [60b]

24.19 The Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, updated 10 July 2008, noted that the 157 toll free, tip-off number/emergency helpline for the victims of trafficking became operational iin May 2005. The operators provide services in Russian, Romanian, English and Turkish. The helpline can be reached throughout Turkey including from mobile phones. The international helpline became operational in April 2007 (+ 90 312 157 11 22). Shelters have been established in Istanbul in 2004 and in Ankara in 2005 for the victims of trafficking. [60b]

24.20 A country profile by Migration dated April 2006 stated on the topic of human smuggling and trafficking that:
“Turkey has made some significant legislative changes in an effort to combat human smuggling and trafficking. First, it has amended its penal code to reflect the UN’s Convention against Transnational Organised Crime (Palermo Convention) and its two protocols related to human smuggling and trafficking. Migrant smugglers now face penalties of three to eight years’ imprisonment and a judicial fine, a penalty that increases by half if the perpetrators are acting as an organisation. The new penal code also provides an official definition of trafficking and a punishment of eight to ten years’ imprisonment and judicial fine for the offense. The Ministry of Health has ordered the provision of free medical treatment at state-owned hospitals for individuals who have been identified as victims of human trafficking. Additionally, the Ministry of the Interior now allows authorities to issue humanitarian visas and temporary residence permits for up to 6 months to those victims of human trafficking who wish to stay in Turkey for rehabilitation and treatment.” [19] (p6)
Training activities
24.21 The Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs further noted that, “Training was given to law enforcement officials. First public awareness campaign with the title ‘Have you seen my mother?’ was launched on 2 February 2006 with the contributions of IOM and coordination of the Turkish Government.” [60b]

24.22 The US Department of State 2006 Trafficking in Persons report – Turkey published 12 June 2007 noted that “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.” [5d]

24.23 The USSD 2007 Trafficking in Persons report published 4 June 2008 also noted that “Turkey’s NATO Partnership for Peace (PFP) training center hosted anti-trafficking training for Turkish and other NATO and PFP country personnel. The center also hosts annual anti-trafficking training for Turkish units assigned to peacekeeping operations. Thirty Turkish personnel received this training in 2007. The government did not report any measurable steps to reduce demand for commercial sex acts within Turkey’s legally regulated prostitution sectors during the year.” [5i]
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25 Medical issues
Overview of availability of medical treatment and drugs
25.01 The UN Development Programme’s 2005 Country Factsheet on Turkey noted that the country’s Human Development Index (HDI) was 0.775, which gave Turkey a rank of 84th out of 177 countries:

HDI value

Life expectancy at birth

Adult literacy rate
(% ages 15 and older)

Combined primary, secondary and tertiary gross enrolment ratio

GDP per capita

84. Turkey (0.775)

85. Turkey (71.4)

69. Turkey (87.4)

108. Turkey (68.7)

66. Turkey (8,407)

25.02 The World Health Organisation’s (WHO) ‘European health for all database (HFA-DB)’, last updated in July 2008, recorded the presence of 1,205 hospitals with a bed capacity of 196,667 in 2006. The database also informed that there were 158.98 people per physician; a total of 116,014 physicians in the same year. [37d]
25.03 On 21 February 2005 the Turkish Daily News reported that a law to transfer ownership of Social Security Authority (SSK) hospitals to the Health Ministry had come into effect over the weekend:
“The law also transfers health facilities owned by Postal and Telecommunications General Directorate (PTT) and Ziraat Bank to the ministry. SSK hospitals will from now on be run like other state-owned medical facilities. SSK members will still have to obtain referrals from their local hospital for treatment at university hospitals… Numerous political parties, nongovernmental organizations and labor groups criticized the government decision to transfer the hospitals to the Health Ministry. Those opposing to the law said the government intended to privatize the health sector, with many people only getting the treatment they could afford. The government decision is a small part of the social security reform process currently under way to ease the burden on taxpayers. Despite being owned by the SSK, hospitals are a drain to the state because of the huge losses they incur.” [23m]

25.04 A June 2007 Pharmaceutical Pricing and Reimbursement Information report commissioned by the European Commission, Health and Consumer Protection Directorate-General and the Austrian Ministry of Health, Family and Youth recorded:

“… In general, access to health care has improved since 2004 with radical changes in the provision side. In the past, the Social Insurance Organization (SSK) had its own hospitals with restricted access to its members and in many cases low standard facilities. In 2005, as part of the ongoing reforms, the competence of these facilities were transferred to the Ministry of Health (MoH) and all MoH hospitals were opened to the SSK members increasing the opportunities of access. Second, access to prescriptions was also improved after allowing SSK enrollees to obtain pharmaceuticals from private pharmacies. In the past, the SSK members were only allowed to buy pharmaceuticals from their hospitals’ pharmacies. After the transfer of these hospitals to the MoH, the SSK beneficiaries also started to purchase their prescriptions from private pharmacies as well. Last but by no means the least, in the past, the Green Card Scheme for the poor covered only in patient care hence excluded outpatient care and prescriptions. In 2005 the scheme was extended to cover all health care expenditures easing access of the poorest segments of the society.” [75] (p6)
25.05 The European Commission 2007 Progress report published 6 November 2007 noted that, “With regard to the coordination of social security systems, efforts to build the administrative capacity of the Social Security Institution, the competent authority under Community legislation, continued in particular through the establishment of an EU department. Preparations with a view to introduction of the European health insurance card have not started.” [71c] (p35)

25.06 The EC 2007 Progress report also added that “The large size of the informal economy and the marked rural/urban divide in the labour market are the main challenges. More than half of those in employment are not registered with any social security institution. … In the field of social protection, little progress has been achieved. The enforcement of the social security reform was postponed to 2008. A Prime Minister’s circular has been issued to initiate a ‘one-stop service’ at simplifying procedures for obtaining several forms of social assistance. The Social Security Institution recruited additional staff and reinforced its technical infrastructure.” [71c] (p54)
25.07 The US State Department’s Consular Information Sheet on Turkey dated 1 November 2006 and current at 18 July 2008, stated:
“Turkish hospitals vary greatly. The new, private hospitals in Ankara, Antalya, and Istanbul have modern facilities and equipment, numerous U.S.-trained specialists, and international accreditation. However, they still may be unable to treat certain serious conditions. … Those planning to remain in Turkey for a prolonged period of time should consider bringing or securing a supply of necessary chronic medications (e.g., heart medications, birth control pills) to cover them while they are in the country, as certain medications are difficult to obtain in Turkey. Nursing care and diagnostic testing (including mammograms) meet American standards at specific institutions in the larger cities. Health care standards are lower in small cities in Turkey in comparison to bigger cities such as Ankara, Istanbul, Izmir, and Adana.” [5f]

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