In the interview conducted in our Directorate General; Mr. Abdullah AYAZ, Deputy Director General of Migration Management, stated that the human trafficking called as modern slavery of our age has been shown in the world public opinion as one of the heaviest crimes committed against the fundamental rights and freedoms of the people in recent years and that the crime of human trafficking has been increasing worldwide day by day and also with the effect of mixed migration movements, it has become one of the most important global problems of the 21stcentury.
Mr. Abdullah AYAZ, our Deputy Director General, stated that also with the effect of technological age in which we are living, they have faced the human trafficking as a type of crime which poses a serious threat to fundamental rights and freedoms of persons in more different forms, especially including the forced labor, forced service, prostitution or other sexual exploitation of people, exposure to captivity and similar practices by restricting their freedom, and utilization of their organs and tissues.
Emphasizing that human trafficking was often associated with slavery, forced labour afterwards, and sexual abuse of women before the 21st century, Mr. Abdullah AYAZ, Deputy Director General, said: "From the beginning of the 21st century, fighting efforts have accelerated since the crime of human trafficking has reached to a serious dimension and affected all countries on a global scale. In this regard, the 'Palermo Protocol' was signed by the United Nations, which regulates the issues on defining the crime of trafficking in human beings and directing the victims to the support services. In addition, the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings, which contains detailed provisions especially in the field of protection of victims, has recently been drafted and entered into force. The laws of the country in general have been shaped within the framework of these regulations."
Mr. Abdullah AYAZ, Deputy Director General, said that considering the data around the world, on the report named as "Global Predictions on Modern Slavery" published by the International Labour Organization in 2017, it was stated that there are 40.3 million probable victims of human trafficking worldwide. Expressing that on the same report it was stated that women constituted 71 percent of the probable 40.3 million victims and that one out of every 4 victims was a child, Mr. Abdullah AYAZ, Deputy Director General, continued as follows:
“Again on the studies conducted by the International Labour Organization, it was stated that illegal profits worth US $ 150 billion annually from human trafficking actions were made in the world. On the ‘Human Trafficking Report’ published by the USA Department of State in 2018, it was stated that approximately 100,000 people worldwide were defined as victims of trafficking in human beings in 2017. When the mentioned numbers are examined, it is seen that there is a serious deficiency in defining the victim and directing them to the support services around the world. This deficiency results especially from the lack of awareness on human trafficking.”
Giving information also about the general profile of the human trafficking in Turkey, Mr. Abdullah AYAZ, our Deputy Director, said:
“As in the entire world, human trafficking offenses also in Turkey are committed mostly for sexual exploitation purposes. In recent years, there has been an increase in human trafficking offenses committed especially in the form of forced labour, but the victims of sexual abuse constitute about 70 percent of victims identified in Turkey. When examining the identified victim profile, we see that after the disintegration of the Soviet Union, the citizens of former Eastern Bloc countries were led on with the promise of a better business or life, brought to Turkey and subjected to the crime of human trafficking. Recently, due to the inner turmoil and political and economic instabilities that occurred in the neighbouring regions, an intense influx of migrants to Turkey has occurred. With the influx of migrants, the victim profile and forms of crimes in Turkey have changed. Among the victims identified since 2014, the number of Syrian citizens was the highest. In terms of the forms of crime, there has been an increase in forced labour and forced begging methods. The increase in forced labour and forced begging has also led to the increase in the number of child victims.
Speaking also about the works conducted by our Directorate General in the fight against human trafficking, Mr. Abdullah AYAZ, Deputy Director General, stated that in the Law No. 6458 on Foreigners and International Protection; the residence permits granted to the victims of human trafficking, extension of residence permits, the principle that the victims cannot be removed with the cancellation of residence permit and the establishment of Protecting the Victims of Human Trafficking Department, which is in charge of this field, have been regulated. Furthermore, he said that the Regulation on Combating Trafficking in Human Beings and Protection of Victims entered into force on 17 March 2016 in order to bring a detailed arrangement in the field of protecting the victims in accordance with the international regulations including especially "Palermo Protocol" and "Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings.”
Mr. Abdullah AYAZ, Deputy Director General stated that with the Regulation, principles regarding the prevention of human trafficking crime, the fight against human trafficking, the protection of human trafficking victims without discriminating between Turkish citizens and foreigners, granting residence permits for the victims of human trafficking and support services to be provided for the victims were specified and he informed that “In accordance with the regulation, the framework of the national referral mechanism was established and the procedures and principles regarding the identification of the victims by the expert personnel working in the Provincial Directorates of Migration Management organized in 81 provinces were determined. In this scope, human trafficking interviews with 5 thousand 132 persons were carried out by the Provincial Directorate of Migration Management in 2017 and 303 persons were defined as victims and directed to the support services. Furthermore, he pointed out that the Department Protecting the Victims of Human Trafficking within the body of the Directorate General has been working in cooperation with the relevant institutions and organizations in the field of fighting human trafficking and protecting the victims.
Expressing that they provide services to the victims of human trafficking in a variety of subjects, Mr. Abdullah AYAZ, our Deputy Director, announced that they, as the Directorate General of Migration Management, provide services to the foreign victims within the voluntary and safe return program via support program. He drew attention to the fact that a number of arrangements were made in favor of the victims in domestic law in order that the victims who suffered from severe trauma could be reintegrated into the society and recovered from the effects of what they went through, and said that: "In this context, for the victims; residence permit is issued, free health services are provided, a lawyer is appointed by the bar association, and conveniences are provided for work permits.
For the victims who are in need of an accommodation, opportunities to accommodate in the shelters specialized for the victims of this crime and to benefit from the support program are provided.
Reminding that many steps have been taken in the field of fight against human trafficking and protection of the victims in Turkey in recent years, Mr. Abdullah AYAZ, our Deputy Director said: “With the works conducted, Turkey has come to a good condition in terms of the legislations to punish the perpetrators of human trafficking and support the victims. Especially in the Foreigners Communication Centre (YİMER 157), information on human trafficking and other issues related to the foreigners are provided in 6 languages 24 hours 7 days with the aim of operating effectively the denunciation and complaint mechanism, and special trainings are provided for the personnel in charge. We have been working in close cooperation with both local governments and non-governmental organizations in order to increase the effectiveness of support services to be provided to the victims. A cooperation protocol with the Ankara Metropolitan Municipality on the shelter for the victims of human trafficking has been signed. Especially in the upcoming period, it is planned to sign cooperation protocols regarding the support services with the municipalities and NGOs in the provinces where the victims densely live."