Cablegate: Turkey: 8th Annual Tip Report: Overview And


DE RUEHAK #0424/01 0641519
P 041519Z MAR 08





E.O. 12958: N/A

B. 07 ANKARA 2893

1. (U) Sensitive but unclassified. Please protect

2. (U) Post's responses are keyed to reftel A questions.
This is part 1 of 3 (septels). Embassy point of contact is
Anthony Renzulli, telephone 90-312-457-7178, fax
90-312-468-4775. Renzulli (FS-03) spent approximately 90
hours in preparation of this report. External Unit Chief
Chris Krafft (FS-02) and Political Counselor Janice G. Weiner
(FS-01) each spent approximately 2 hours reviewing this


A. (SBU) Turkey is a destination country for women
trafficked internationally for the purpose of sexual
exploitation and, to a lesser degree, forced labor. Men and
children are much more rarely trafficked to Turkey. The
Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) reports 148 victims
rescued in 2007. Eight were children, under the age of 18.
IOM reports having assisted 118 of these victims, the rest
choosing to forego the IOM referral mechanism and return
directly to their countries. Of these 118 IOM-assisted, only
four were children, five were men, and 15 were trafficked for
the purpose of forced labor. The vast majority of victims
are trafficked from Eastern Europe and the former Soviet
Union. Of the victims IOM assisted in 2007, the source
countries were as follows: Moldova (43), Russia (18),
Kyrgyzstan (14), Turkmenistan (12), Uzbekistan (11), Bulgaria
(6), Ukraine (6), Azerbaijan (3), and Georgia (3). IOM only
assisted two victims from outside this region during the
reporting period: one from Tunisia and one from Sri Lanka.
Between January 1 and February 15, 2008, IOM has assisted an
additional fifteen victims, all adults. The source countries
were as follows: Moldova (9), Russia (2), Azerbaijan (1),
Belarus (1), Turkmenistan (1), and Morocco (1). The
principal Turkish destinations for trafficked victims are
Antalya, Izmir, Istanbul, Trabzon, and Ankara, suggesting a
strong correlation in Turkey between tourism and TIP.

No Turkish territory is outside the government's control.
The incidence of internal trafficking is rare compared to
international trafficking (less than ten percent of the TIP
files in Turkish courts in 2007 pertained to Turkish
victims.) Social conditions in parts of rural Turkey --
poverty, illiteracy, domestic violence, and internal
migration to urban areas -- are similar to those faced in
countries where victims trafficked to Turkey originate,
suggesting that internal trafficking could still emerge as a
serious problem in Turkey. MFA, Turkish National Police
(TNP), Jandarma, Ministry of Justice (MOJ), Ministry of Labor
(MOL), IOM, and the two organizations operating the Istanbul
and Ankara TIP shelters -- Human Resources Development
Foundation (HRDF) and Foundation for Women's Solidarity
(FWS), respectively -- are our primary sources of TIP
information; these sources and their data are reliable.
Turkey's interagency taskforce on TIP has made significant
strides in improving the documentation of trafficking. In
2007 the GOT issued a comprehensive 2006 report on combating
TIP in Turkey, and plans to continue to do so on an annual
basis. According to GOT and IOM data, young women from the
former Soviet Union (sometimes referred to pejoratively in
Turkey as "Natashas") are at the greatest risk of being

B. (SBU) The GOT continues to take TIP seriously and has
taken significant measures during the rating period to
prevent trafficking, protect victims, and prosecute
traffickers. Interagency and NGO cooperation has further
improved. Law enforcement remained determined in its efforts
to crack down on TIP. According to TNP, anti-trafficking
operations (91 in 2007) have led to a significant decrease in
the number of victims identified. The GOT also believes the
December 2006 amendment of Turkish Penal Code (TPC) Article
80, which added forced prostitution to the anti-trafficking
article, thereby raising the trafficking penalty to eight to
twelve years in prison (see part 2, septel), further deterred
traffickers. The GOT also pursued robust regional
cooperation and undertook a number of highly successful
anti-trafficking operations in partnership with source

country governments, including through information sharing
with source country authorities. Recognizing a year-on-year
decrease in the number of traffickers apprehended and victims
rescued, law enforcement is actively researching migration
routes and other evidence to determine whether traffickers
have adjusted their methodologies to avoid apprehension.

Most victims are remedially-educated women aged 18-35 who
travel to Turkey voluntarily seeking employment; a far
smaller percentage arrive in Turkey for travel or marriage
purposes. Some victims arrive in Turkey with the knowledge
they will work illegally in the sex industry, but others as
models, dancers, waitresses, or domestic servants. About
fifty percent of IOM-assisted victims during the rating
period were mothers. The large majority of traffickers are
Turkish (264 out of 308), though many recruiters are from
source countries. Women are instrumental in recruiting
victims, though boyfriends and phony employment agencies also
play a role. Force, passport capture/counterfeiting, and
debt bondage for travel costs are trafficker methods TNP has
identified. TIP is primarily carried out by small networks
of traffickers in Turkey and the source countries. Turkish
law enforcement authorities believe TIP is closely associated
with organized and other transnational crime. However, law
enforcement agencies represented at post (DEA and FBI) have
not identified a strong correlation between TIP and, for
example, narco-trafficking in Turkey. Turkey has a liberal
visa regime, making it relatively easy to traffic victims to
Turkey or for at-risk women to enter Turkey. In an effort to
boost commercial ties in the region, Turkey, in July 2007,
unilaterally exempted Tajik, Turkmen, and Uzbek nationals
from visa requirements for visits to Turkey of thirty days or
less. Turkey had already waived, mutually, visa requirements
with Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Azerbaijan and Georgia.

C. (SBU) MFA, Ministry of Interior (MOI -- includes TNP and
Jandarma), MOJ, and MOL are the principal government agencies
involved in anti-trafficking efforts. The Ministry of Health
(MOH) provides free health care to victims, and the Ankara
and Istanbul municipal governments furnish space for the two
dedicated TIP shelters free of charge. The interagency
taskforce met quarterly during the rating period -- up from
twice yearly last year -- and is led by Ambassador Kemal Gur,
MFA Director General for Consular Affairs. Numerous
agencies, municipalities, IOM, the shelter administrators,
and the European Commission (EC) participate in taskforce
meetings. (See Prevention, para E, below, for details on the
taskforce composition.) Our EC contacts tell us the GOT's
interagency and NGO cooperation on TIP is at a uniquely high
level, exceeding Turkish performance in other EU accession
areas pertaining to justice and rule of law.

D. (SBU) Turkey is a developing country with a median GDP of
approximately $6,900, situated at the crossroads of major
East-West and North-South migration flows. In 2007, over 23
million tourists visited Turkey, and another 780,000 in
January 2008 -- a ten percent increase over 2006. At the
same time, Turkey faces a serious cross-border (PKK)
terrorism problem originating from northern Iraq, which
resulted in the death of 166 Turkish security forces and
civilians in 2007. The fight against terrorism commands a
huge share of Turkey's law enforcement and prosecutorial
resources. Despite these challenges, Turkey has mustered
impressive organizational and financial resources to combat
TIP -- far in excess, it argues, of neighboring source

One particular challenge the GOT faces in maintaining TIP
statistics is the peculiar division of responsibility between
TNP and Jandarma. In Turkey, municipal law enforcement is
TNP's responsibility, while rural areas, borders and ports of
entry are policed by the Jandarma (Gendarmerie). Both
agencies report to the Minister of Interior, but data
exchange between the two is sometimes inefficient, though TNP
retains the sole responsibility for victim identification.
Also, judicial data collection can be problematic, since
statistics on prosecutions, convictions and sentencing must
be collected from local courts in 81 provinces; there is no
centralized database. Judicial proceedings in Turkey are, as
a general rule, painfully slow. Another challenge the GOT
faces is how to efficiently and effectively utilize the aid
it receives as a neighboring and accession country from
European donors. For example, delays in finalizing an MOU
with the European Commission on a two-year, 3 million Euro
comprehensive anti-TIP project -- which was to include
shelter support -- nearly led the Ankara shelter to suspend
operations when it could no longer afford to pay salaries
(ref B). The GOT will have to ensure no new resource gaps
emerge as it implements European-funded projects. A new,
comprehensive anti-TIP national action plan is currently
awaiting the Prime Minister's signature and translation into
English. The plan is expected to ensure sustainable GOT
support for victim assistance measures, e.g., the telephone
helpline, shelters, etc.

E. (U) As noted above, in 2007 the GOT published a
domestic, interagency, 2006 TIP report. Both publicly and
privately, including through active regional engagement, the
GOT frequently and candidly shares with us and other
countries its assessment of domestic anti-trafficking efforts.


A. (U) The GOT acknowledges that trafficking is a problem in

B. (SBU) IOM continues to operate a toll-free "157" helpline
for victims of trafficking. Operators who speak Russian,
Romanian, English and Turkish staff the helpline 24 hours per
day. The helpline became operational for international calls
(90-312-157-1122) in April 2007 -- a significant achievement
since a substantial portion of helpline tips come from
family, acquaintances and other sources, and not from the
victims themselves. 28 victims were rescued through the
helpline in 2007, and one more victim between January 1 and
February 15, 2008. IOM reports that traffickers sometimes
try to block the helpline through phony calls with unreadable
numbers. The TNP has requested the Ankara Prosecutor
undertake an investigation. Posters and billboards in
regional airports and seaports advertise the helpline in
Russian, Romanian, English and Turkish. Turkey's accumulated
efforts to publicize the helpline have had success: IOM
reports that media information accounted for nearly half the
reported rescue requests through the helpline in 2007. The
Minister of Interior has authorized TNP to assume full
operational responsibility for the helpline in the coming
year. The Ministry of Finance (MOF) has allocated the
funding for nine staff positions, and TNP is preparing
applications. GOT authorities continue to distribute small
passport inserts warning against TIP and advertising the
helpline to at-risk travelers entering the country at key
ports of entry. Turkish consulates also hand out the inserts
to visa applicants in source countries. In 2007, the
Jandarma published a guidebook on the fight against TIP to
educate its officers on detecting TIP and has published a
number of public awareness and training materials to be used
at Jandarma outposts throughout Turkey. Jandarma reported
that 3,280 copies of the guidebook were distributed to its
personnel last year (see part 2, septel). TNP reported that
in 2007 it distributed 1,000 copies of a similar guide for
police, published in 2006.

C. (SBU) As noted, the GOT has a close, productive working
relationship with NGOs and with IOM. Ankara and Istanbul
shelter operators FWS and HRDF, along with IOM, serve on the
GOT interagency TIP taskforce. TNP has the sole GOT mandate
to identify trafficking victims. It undertakes this
responsibility in tandem with IOM and shelter representatives
to ensure proper victim identification.

The GOT takes a leading role in the regional fight against
TIP. It participated actively in regional anti-trafficking
conferences and initiatives through the OSCE, UN Office on
Drugs and Crimes (UNODC), the Southeast European Cooperation
Initiative (SECI), the Council of Europe, Organization for
Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC), the International
Center for Migration/Budapest Process, and the Conference on
Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA).
As the 2007 BSEC Chairman, Turkey hosted a BSEC regional TIP
seminar in Istanbul, in August 2007, and, as Budapest Process
Chairman, it also hosted in Istanbul a joint
UNODC/BSEC/Budapest Process conference on "Human Trafficking
in the Black Sea." On January 31-February 1, Turkey chaired
the first CICA experts group meeting in Ankara, where it
invited IOM's Pakistan-based Regional Representative and the
Turkish National Police (TNP) to address the experts group on
the struggle against TIP and strongly encouraged CICA Member
states to take on TIP as a component of the CICA work

D. (SBU) The TNP monitors legal and illegal air, sea and
land-based migration patterns for evidence of trafficking.
Jandarma officers stationed along Turkey's borders are
trained to detect TIP. Jandarma now has specialized,
anti-TIP teams operating at all (25) border crossings, up
from five. GOT officials do not have the authority to refuse
or turn away visa applicants or travelers crossing the border
from known source countries simply because they are at risk
of becoming victimized when they arrive in Turkey, i.e., are
young, single women.

E. (SBU) As noted, there is an interagency GOT taskforce led
by MFA Director General for Consular Affairs Ambassador Kemal
Gur. Gur has expanded the taskforce and directed it to meet
every other month. It met quarterly during the reporting
period, up from twice yearly the previous year. In addition
to MFA, the taskforce is officially composed of the following
agencies, IGO and NGOs:

1. MOJ - EU Directorate
2. MOJ - Legislative Affairs Directorate
3. MOJ - Penal Affairs Directorate
4. MOJ - Judicial Records and Statistics Directorate
5. MOJ - Training Department
6. MOJ - International Law and Foreign Relations Directorate
7. The Court of Appeals Presidency
8. MOI - Jandarma General Command, Human Smuggling Crimes
9. MOI - Coast Guard Command
10. MOI - Foreign Relations and EU Coordination Department
11. MOI - TNP, Foreigners, Borders and Asylum Department
12. MOI - TNP, Public Order Department
13. MOI - TNP, Smuggling and Organized Crime Department
14. MOF - Budget and Financial Control Directorate
15. MOF - Council to Investigate Financial Crimes
16. MOH - Treatment Services Directorate
17. MOH - Foreign relations Department
18. MOL - Labor Department
19. MOL - Foreign Relations and Worker Services Abroad
20. EU Secretariat General - Political Affairs Department
21. State Planning Organization Under Secretariat (Prime
22. Social Services and Orphanages Directorate (State
23. Status of Women and Children Directorate (State Ministry)
24. Social Assistance and Solidarity Fund (Prime Ministry)
25. Human Rights Presidency (Prime Ministry)
26. Cankaya (Ankara) Sub-Governor - Social Assistance and
Solidarity Foundation
27. Ankara Metropolitan Municipality
28. Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality
29. Trabzon Metropolitan Municipality
30. Antalya Metropolitan Municipality
31. Izmir Metropolitan Municipality
32. Artvin Municipality
33. Igdir Municipality
34. European Commission Turkey Representative
35. IOM Turkey Representative
36. Bar Association Union
37. Human Resources Development Foundation (HRDF)
38. Foundation for Women's Solidarity (FWS)

We have not been informed of a specific TIP-related public
corruption taskforce.

F. (SBU) The GOT has a national action plan to address TIP.
The taskforce-participating agencies, NGOs, and IOM were
involved in developing it. It mandates close NGO, IGO and
interagency cooperation. The same agencies have drafted a
new national action plan, currently awaiting the Prime
Minister's signature and translation into English. The new
action plan will complement the ongoing two-year, 3 million
Euro EC project aimed at shoring up sustainability in the
fight against trafficking, notably though victim protection
measures and law enforcement and judicial training. (See
Overview, para D, above.) (We will further report on the EC
project septel.)

G. (SBU) We are not aware of any specific measures taken by
the GOT during the reporting period to reduce demand for

commercial sex acts outside of the normal legal and zoning
restrictions under which legal brothels operate. However,
IOM reported that, on March 7, as part of the EC project (see
above), IOM will begin an investigation on demand for
trafficked victims, with the particular aim of uncovering any
evidence that might point to other forms of exploitation,
notably labor. Academics researchers are presently being

H. (U) We have no evidence indicating Turkish nationals
actively participate in international child sex tourism.

I. (SBU) Four Turkish military personnel (one each from the
Land Forces and Naval Forces Command, and two from Jandarma)
participated in a NATO Partnership for Peace (PfP) training,
hosted by the Turkish PfP Training Center, February 18-22,
2008, on the fight against TIP. The training, also made
available to other NATO and PfP country personnel, primarily
from source countries, focused on the differences between
human smuggling and TIP, victim identification, intelligence
and data collection, database management, investigation
techniques, as well as the role of NGOs, international
organizations and civil society, and NATO policy on human
trafficking. In addition, the PfP Training Center provides
an annual one week course on TIP to Turkish unit command
assigned to peacekeeping operations. Thirty Turkish
personnel received the training in 2007.

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