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Human Trafficking and Legal Framework in Turkey

İnsan Ticareti

Human Trafficking and Legal Framework in Turkey


Human Trafficking and Legal Framework in Turkey

The fight against human trafficking in Turkey started with the detection of women victims of human trafficking, which emerged with the collapse of the Soviet Union bloc.

In the beginning of the 2000s, an influx of commercial sex work to Turkey from countries such as Ukraine, Russia, Moldova, Belarus and Georgia, which were members of this bloc, which collapsed socio-economically, started and human trafficking cases occurred in this process. In the scans made since 2007, it is seen that the cases coming from these countries have decreased, but the cases of the victims coming from countries in Central Asia such as Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, who are engaged in prostitution, as well as being engaged as a caregiver or nurse at home, have started to increase. Again, recently, there are female victims brought to Turkey from North Africa on the pretext of getting married, and male Afghan victims coming from Afghanistan and forced to work. As of 2011, with the outbreak of the Syrian Crisis, there have been cases of human trafficking among refugees from Syria. At this point, it is an issue that should be taken into account, especially in cases of early marriage or child labor, which are generally perceived as normal in Syrian culture, and the possibility of increasing human trafficking cases, considering the economic conditions of Syrian refugees. As can be seen, Turkey becomes both a bridge and a target country for human trafficking cases, especially due to its geographical location.

Against human trafficking towards its borders since 2000, Turkey, with Belarus, the countries of origin of the victims, on 28/07/2004 “Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in Combating Illegal Migration and Human Trafficking”, with Georgia on 10/03/2005 with the Republic of Turkey. Protocol on the Implementation of the Ninth Article of the Agreement between Georgia and Azerbaijan on Combating Terrorism, Organized Crime and Other Major Crimes”, with Ukraine on 07/07/2005, “Additional Protocol on the Implementation of the First Article of the Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Turkey and the Government of Ukraine on Cooperation Against Crime”, Moldova and “Protocol on Cooperation in the Field of Combating Human Trafficking between the Government of the Republic of Turkey and the Republic of Moldova in the Framework of Cooperation in Combating International Drug Smuggling, International Terrorism and Other Organized Crimes” on 08/02/2006, Finally, on 05/09/2006 “Combating Human Trafficking with Kyrgyzstan” also signed the “Bilateral Cooperation Protocol”. Turkey, which has concluded special legal agreements and protocols with these countries, has also become a party to many agreements and conventions in terms of human trafficking on a global scale.

The first legal studies in the sense of combating human trafficking on a global scale are seen at the beginning of the 19th century. The International Conventions on the Prohibition of Trafficking in White Women of 1904 and 1910, the International Convention on the Prohibition of Trafficking in Women and Children signed in 1921, the Convention Against Slavery in 1926 and the Convention Against Forced Labor signed in 1930 and the Convention on the Prevention of Trafficking in Persons and Exploitation for the Purpose of Prostitution of 1949, It constitutes the first international examples in terms of combating human trafficking.

In recent history, due to human trafficking crimes that have increased globally and have become more organized towards victims of all ages and genders in a transboundary dimension, and due to the increasing awareness in line with these crimes, the perspective on human trafficking has become clearer and contracts and laws have begun to be made in this sense. 1979 Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1987 Council of Europe Recommendation No. 1065 on Trafficking and Other Exploitation of Children, 1991 Council of Europe Committee of Ministers’ Sexual Exploitation, Pornography, Prostitution and Trafficking in Children and Young People Recommendation No. 11 on the Recommendation No. 11 of the Council of Europe, 1996 Recommendation No. 1099 of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on Trafficking and Exploitation of Children in Other Ways, 1997 Recommendation No. 1325 of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe Concerning Trafficking in Women and Forcing Prostitution in Council Member States, 1999 International Study Organization (ILO) Convention on the Prohibition and Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labor, Optional Protocol to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, 2000, Concerning the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography, 2000 Against Transnational Organized Crime Additional Protocol to the United Nations Convention on the Prevention, Suppression and Punishment of Trafficking in Human Beings, Especially Women and Children, Framework Decision Proposal No. 854 of the 2000 European Union Council on labor legislation, 2005 Council of Europe Convention on Combating Human Trafficking with the Purpose of Sexual Exploitation Recommendation No. 11 Concerning the Fight Against Trafficking is emerging as regulations made against slavery, exploitation of women and children, and human trafficking in this context, in the recent period.

In the fight against human trafficking, Turkey has participated in international conventions as a signatory to both United Nations and European Union legislation. In this context, Turkey became a party to the UN Convention on Combating Transnational Organized Crime (Palermo Convention) and the Protocol on the Prevention, Suppression and Punishment of Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, on 25 March 2003. Another important convention on human trafficking, the “Council of Europe Convention to Combat Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA)” was signed by Turkey on 19 March 2009, and the convention was adopted by the Turkish Grand National Assembly on 30 January 2016.

Among these important conventions, the “Protocol on the Prevention, Suppression and Punishment of Trafficking in Human Beings, Especially Women and Children”, which was prepared as an annex to the “United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime”, also known as the “Palermo Protocol”, was submitted for signature in 2000. The Palermo Protocol is of great importance because it is the first protocol that fully defines human trafficking, and it is the first protocol with a legal binding in the international sense. The Protocol, as a milestone in human trafficking, enables states to define and enforce human trafficking crimes in their own laws, and highlights the points of providing measures against trafficking in human beings, especially against women and children.

“Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings”, another important convention for Turkey, was submitted to the approval of countries in 2005. The convention that Turkey became a party to in 2016 is based on the victim of human trafficking and giving priority to services for victims. In this context, the states party to the convention are obliged to provide services such as appropriate and safe shelter support, psychological support, financial support, access to emergency medical treatment services, interpreting services, legal information and counseling, children’s access to education, compensation and residence.

The increased refugee movements in Turkey due to the Syrian Crisis have created new legal needs in the field of migration and the Law on Foreigners and International Protection (YUKK) No. 6458 was adopted on April 4, 2013 and entered into force. With this law, some new regulations have been introduced in the field of human trafficking victims and human trafficking. In these regulations, people who are victims of human trafficking or who are believed to be victims of human trafficking are granted the right not to be deported to victims of human trafficking who benefit from the victim support process, by granting a residence permit for thirty days by the governorates and extending this permit for a maximum of six months, provided that this permit does not exceed three years.

In addition, the “Regulation on Combating Human Trafficking and Protection of Victims” was published in the Official Gazette on 17 March 2016 and entered into force. In the regulation, voluntary and safe return to their country or a third country, sheltering in shelters or in a safe place, Providing access to health services, Providing psycho-social support, Access to social services and assistance, Access to legal aid and counseling and information on the legal rights of victims. Providing guidance on access to education and training services, Providing support for vocational training and access to the labor market, In order to provide temporary financial support at a level to meet their basic needs, in accordance with the provisions of the Social Assistance and Solidarity Encouragement Law No. 3294 dated 29/5/1986. Providing necessary guidance, Accessing consultancy services that can be provided by relevant non-governmental organizations and international and intergovernmental organizations, Providing translation services, Providing information to the embassy or consulate of the country of citizenship, upon consent ni, There are opportunities to provide the opportunity to meet with the embassy or consulate officials of the country of citizenship, to provide assistance in identification and obtaining travel documents.

In the Turkish Penal Code, the crime of human trafficking was regulated in Article 80, numbered 5237, which entered into force on 1 June 2005, and apart from a few differences, it was created on the basis of Article 201/b of the Law No. 765 and the regulation in the Palermo Protocol. These changes and differences, on the other hand, were made above the first regulation on human trafficking in article 201/b, which was added to the Turkish Penal Code No. 765 with the Law No. 4771 in 2002. As the justification for all these amendment processes, the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime and the Protocol on the Prevention, Suppression and Punishment of Trafficking in Human Beings, Especially Women and Children, adopted by the Law No. the adjustment has been made.

On top of the regulations, human trafficking crime in TPC article 80;

(1) To use threats, coercion, coercion or violence, abuse of influence for the purpose of forced labor, forced labor, prostitution or bondage, or the donation of bodily organs A person who brings people into the country, takes them out of the country, supplies them, abducts them, transports them from one place to another or transfers them or harbors them, by deceiving them or by obtaining their consent by taking advantage of the control possibilities or desperation over them. up to a judicial fine.

(2) If there are acts that are committed for the purposes specified in the first paragraph and constitute the crime, the consent of the victim is invalid.

(3) In cases where those who are under the age of eighteen are procured, abducted, taken from one place to another, transferred or housed for the purposes specified in the first paragraph, none of the criminal acts are resorted to. even if not, the perpetrator is given the penalties specified in the first paragraph.

(4) Due to these crimes, security measures are also imposed on legal entities.

It has taken its place in the law as



As it can be seen in the legal sense, Turkey is making an intense effort to combat human trafficking and prevent crime. With the socio-political and environmental crises developing on a global scale, rapidly advancing technology is being evaluated very well by human traffickers, and in this sense, it is important for lawmakers to show more up-to-date and dynamic approaches to crime in the field of combating human trafficking. Again, in the legal dimension, mechanisms focused only on crime or security are avoided, and an effective National Steering Mechanism’ (NRM) is another important point in terms of directing the services correctly.


Human Trafficking and Legal Framework in Turkey