Trafficking in persons is a crime that violates human rights, destroys lives and affects every country in the world. While numbers of estimated victims of trafficking worldwide vary, they are reported as being in the millions and, given unstable political and economic situation in the region, they are on the rise.
Turkey is both a transit country and destination country for victims of human trafficking, partly due to its geographic position and its socio-economic opportunities in the region. In 2015, the majority of identified human trafficking victims in Turkey originally came from Uzbekistan or Kyrgyzstan. In the last ten years, the Turkish Ministry of Interior identified more than 1,300 victims of human trafficking, with youths and young adults the most common demographic. Ninety-eight percent of the 1,300 victims were women forced into prostitution or other forms of exploitation, although a growing number are men and children. The sustained conflict in Turkey’s neighboring countries causes growing concern for fleeing migrants and refugees to fall victim of human trafficking.
With over a decade of experience in counter trafficking activities in Turkey, IOM works to prevent human trafficking, protect victims, build capacity and create partnerships. Since our program began, nearly 1,000 victims of human trafficking were safely and voluntarily returned with the assistance of IOM and the Turkish government.
IOM Turkey actively works to combat human trafficking by raising awareness among law enforcement, judges, prosecutors and other related authorities.IOM Turkey also equips vulnerable populations with information necessary to better protect themselves from the tactics traffickers.
Once a victim of human trafficking is identified, it is vital that he/she receive assistance and protection. Through our implementing partners, IOM provides direct assistance to victims of trafficking by providing both expertise and funding for shelters.
Our technical cooperation activities build capacities of both Turkish government and civil society institutions to better address the challenges posed by human trafficking. This includes training non-governmental organizations and government officials - such as police, judges and public prosecutors - as well as technical support in the development of counter-trafficking legislation, policies and procedures, and infrastructural upgrades.