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Cablegate: Trafficking in Persons: Mfa Reports Ongoing Efforts

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 09 ANKARA 006072

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR G/TIP, G, INL, DRL, EUR/PGI, EUR/SE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL KCRM PHUM KWMN SMIG KFRD PREF TU TIP IN TURKEY
SUBJECT: TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS: MFA REPORTS ONGOING EFFORTS

1. (U) SUMMARY: In response to G/TIP inquires about anti-TIP
public information campaigns, post provides the following
October 2004 TIP Country Report produced by the Turkish
MFA's National Task Force on Human Trafficking. The Report
will be published on-line at the MFA website at
http://www.mfa.gov.tr/grupa/ac/acb/Traffickin ginHumanBeings.
htm:

2. (U) BEGIN TEXT:

Updated Country Report of Turkey on Trafficking in Human
Beings

Introduction

During past decades, organized criminal groups have
increasingly taken advantage of globalization and
technological developments and expanded their activities
worldwide by employing sophisticated strategies.
Accordingly, organized crime, including human smuggling
and trafficking in human beings, have become more
transnational and complex in nature. Therefore,
combating these activities requires comprehensive
strategies dealing with all aspects of prevention,
prosecution and protection, as well as firm and
effective international co-operation and co-ordination.

Organized crime activities are interrelated. Criminal
networks behind human smuggling and trafficking in human
beings are at the same time involved in one or more
other forms of organized crime such as drug trafficking,
document fraud and money laundering. Also, once they
establish their network and connections, they easily
shift the focus of their business from one form of crime
activity to the other depending on their calculation of
risk and profit at a given time. In this respect, it is
currently recognized that trafficking in human beings is
rivaling drug trafficking and arms smuggling in higher
profitability for lower risk. There are also evidences
demonstrating the fact that some terrorist organizations
resort to organized crime activities as a source of
finance. This state of affairs calls for an overall
fight against all forms of organized crime activities
and terrorism, not prioritizing one over the other in
international co-operation and co-ordination efforts.

On the other hand, a multi-disciplinary approach is
required particularly in the combat against trafficking
in human beings and human smuggling, including
appropriate social and economic measures which will
address their root causes such as poverty, economic
disparities and unemployment in the countries of origin
and the demand for sexual exploitation and for
inexpensive, socially unprotected and often illegal
labour in the countries of destination. In achieving
this, political will and collective efforts by origin,
transit and destination countries are crucial.

A distinction should however be made between human
smuggling and trafficking in human beings due to their
own specifics. This report deals only with trafficking
in human beings.

The Situation in Turkey

Turkey, at the crossroads of Asia, Middle East and
Europe, bordering eight countries and lapped by 5,000
miles of coastline, has seriously been confronted with
various forms of transnational organized crime, which
pose a threat to its social order and human and
democratic values.

In recent years Turkey has become a destination country
for nationals of transitional democracies, who are in
search of better living conditions and job opportunities
abroad in the face of conflicts or economic and social
hardships prevailing in their own countries.

Countries surrounding Turkey from the North to the
Northeast are generally accepted as countries of origin.
Nationals of these countries may enter Turkey by a visa
obtained at border gates and may stay in Turkey for up
to one month. Their purpose is twofold. Mostly, they
travel to Turkey for "suitcase trading", the volume of
which has reached considerable amounts during past
years. Secondly, they come to Turkey in search of job
opportunities, which were available for them only in
illegal labour markets until recently.

While their presence in Turkey is generally voluntary,
their illegal work and resident status, nevertheless,
make them vulnerable to exploitation. Some of them
obtain legal residency through arranged marriages. Some
others end up in small workshops, in tourism and
entertainment sector or in private households, working
illegally without any job security, insurance or
administrative and judicial safeguards. According to
statistics, majority of male workers are employed in the
construction sector and females in domestic services.

International obligations

In addition to many longstanding international
instruments dealing with "white slave trade" and
"trafficking in women and children", Turkey is a party
to the Convention on the Rights of the Child. According
to Articles 34 and 35 of the Convention, States Parties
undertake to protect the child from all forms of sexual
exploitation and sexual abuse and to take all
appropriate national, bilateral and multilateral
measures to prevent inducement or coercion of a child to
engage in any unlawful sexual activity, the exploitative
use of children in prostitution or other unlawful sexual
practices, the exploitative use of children in
pornographic performances and materials and the
abduction of, sale of or traffic in children for any
purpose or in any form.

On 9 May 2002, the Turkish Grand National Assembly also
adopted the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the
Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child
prostitution and child pornography.

In Palermo, on 13 December 2000, Turkey was among the
initial signatories of the UN Convention against
Transnational Organized Crime and of its two additional
Protocols including the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress
and Punish Trafficking, especially women and children.
Turkey ratified both the Convention and its additional
Protocols on 18 March 2003.

By adopting these international instruments Turkey
clearly indicated her political will to combat against
trafficking in human beings in co-operation with the
world community and commits herself to translate the
provisions included therein into its own legislation.

Legal framework

While voluntary individual prostitution is legal in
Turkey, incitement to prostitution and trafficking in
human beings are described as crimes and are punishable
under the Penal Code and the Law on Combating Benefit-
Oriented Criminal Organizations. Additionally, certain
provisions of the Passport Law and the Law on the
Prevention of Money Laundering contain provisions that
apply to trafficking cases. Administrative decrees and
regulations build on the legal basis with a focus on
implementation.

Article 201 of the Penal Code, as amended in August
2002, includes the definition of trafficking in human
beings and prescribes heavy penalties for traffickers,
including 5 to 10 years of heavy imprisonment. The
amended article (Article 201/b) reads as follows:

"Article 201/b - Those who provide, kidnap, take or
transfer from one place to another and house individuals
with the intention of making them work or serve by
force, subject them to slavery or similar treatment,
threaten, pressure, use force or coercion to persuade
them to give up their bodily organs, use undue
influence, secure their consent by deception or by
exploiting the desperation of such individuals shall be
sentenced to five to ten years of heavy imprisonment and
a heavy fine of not less than one billion Turkish Liras.

If the actions that constitute a crime are attempted
with the intentions described in the first paragraph,
the victim is assumed not to have given his/her consent.

If children below the age of eighteen are procured,
kidnapped, taken or transferred from one place to
another or housed with the intentions specified in
paragraph one, even when no intermediary actions
relating to the crime are committed, the penalties
foreseen in paragraph one shall still be applied to the
perpetrator.

If the crimes listed in the paragraphs above are
committed as an organization, the penalties foreseen for
the perpetrators shall be doubled."
The Law on Combating Benefit-Oriented Criminal
Organizations, on the other hand, criminalizes
establishing, promoting, leading or participating in
benefit-oriented criminal organizations with a view to
carrying out organized crime activities, which could
include, inter alias, trafficking in human beings. In
order to combat criminal organizations, the law empowers
the investigative authorities with special procedural
techniques such as tapping or intercepting
telecommunications, clandestine surveillance, reviewing
records and data, and employing secret agents. However,
to safeguard respect for human rights, judicial decree
is sought before implementing such measures. Protective
measures are available for witnesses. In trans-boundary
and organized cases of trafficking in human beings, like
in any other organized crime activities, perpetrators
are tried before the State Security Courts, whereas
individual cases of incitement to prostitution fall
under the jurisprudence of the courts of justice.

According to Article 8 of the Passport Law, foreigners
who are engaged in prostitution, or earn their living by
inciting women into prostitution, and those involved in
trafficking in women are denied entry to Turkey.

The Turkish Parliament approved the Amendment to Article
5 of the Citizenship Law on 4 June 2003. With this
amendment, a probation period of 3 years is required for
acquiring Turkish citizenship through marriage.
Accordingly, those who have a job incompatible with the
marriage and do not share the same house with his/her
spouse will not be able to acquire Turkish citizenship.

The Law on Residence and Travel of Foreigners in Turkey,
on the other hand, allows entry of the child under 18 to
Turkey only when accompanied by or with the permission
of their parents or legal guardian.

Legislative review

In September 2003, a new Law on Working Permits for
Foreigners entered into force. The law increases legal
employment opportunities for foreigners in Turkey, by
permitting their work under limited, unlimited or
independent work permits. Employment in domestic
services is also made possible. The Ministry of Labour
and Social Security is authorized to issue all forms of
work permits for foreigners to ensure better management
and control over the process. The law aims at providing
legal protection for foreigners against exploitation in
labour markets and extending legal and administrative
safeguards to private services.

National coordination and international cooperation

In Turkey, Ministry of Foreign Affairs is responsible
for national coordination of issues related to
trafficking in human beings. The Ministry chairs the
National Task Force on Combating Trafficking in Human
Beings, which is composed of experts from concerned
ministries and NGOs such as the Human Rights Presidency
of the Prime Minister's Office, the Foundation for the
Development of Human Resources (IKGV), the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry
of Justice, the Ministry of Labour and Social Security
and the Directorate General of the Status and Problems
of Woman.

The National Task Force was convened for the first time
in October 2002 and had five more meetings, last being
on 18 February 2004. The National Action Plan, prepared
by the Task Force is already under implementation. The
next meeting of the National Task Force will be held on
November 2004.

The Directorate General of the Status and Problems of
Woman, on the other hand, provides co-operation and co-
ordination with the non-governmental organizations. In
accordance with the National Action Plan, the non-
governmental organizations active in the field of
protection of foreign victims of human trafficking, are
encouraged and supported with the best means possible.

Turkey supports all international efforts aimed at
combating trafficking in human beings and actively
participates in activities of the OSCE, the Council of
Europe, NATO and the Stability Pact Task Force on
Trafficking in Human Beings. IOM, ICMPD, SECI and
EUROPOL are other main co-operation partners of Turkey
in this area. Furthermore, Turkey is about to complete
the legal procedure to acquire membership in
International Organization for Migration (IOM), which
will enable further cooperation.

In this framework, Turkey participated to the seminar
organized by the European Council in co-operation with
the "Gender Development Association", a Georgian NGO, on
6-7 November 2002 in Tbilisi on fight against
trafficking in South Caucusus. Ukraine, Georgia,
Armenia, Azerbaijan, Italy and IOM Georgia also attended
the seminar.

Turkey also participated in the regional Validation
Seminar that has been organized on 15-16 November 2002
in Bucharest regarding the project on publication of the
Regional Anti-Trafficking Law Enforcement Manual.

Turkish judges have participated to the programme for
the "Development of an Anti-Trafficking Module for
Judges and Prosecutors" organized by the Stability Pact
and the ICMPD on 10-13 April 2003 in Sofia and the
follow-up seminar of the same programme on 17-19
November 2003 in Sofia.

Turkish experts also participated in the Experts Group
meeting organized on 16 May 2003 by the European Union
in Brussels.

Turkish experts are participating to the ongoing
meetings of the ad-hoc committee (CAHTEH), which is
entrusted to prepare a Convention Against Trafficking in
Human Beings.

Further co-operation possibilities are being considered
particularly with the IOM on a project basis in areas of
awareness raising, national referral mechanisms, victim
protection, and voluntary return and reintegration
assistance. As a result of these consultations, assisted
voluntary returns of 41 victims of trafficking in human
beings have been successfully conducted in cooperation
with IOM and IKGV as of January 2004.

In this framework, Turkey is not only participating but
also co-funding the project on "Establishment of the
Network of and Joint Training for Operational Law
Enforcement Officers, NGOs and International
Organizations in Fighting Human Trafficking" which is
implemented by IOM, in cooperation with the European
Commission (EC), European Parliament (EP), selected EU
Member States, as well as the Candidate Countries and
Third Countries bordering the enlarged European Union
under the European Commission Directorate General
Justice and Home Affairs' AGIS Programme 2003.

Designated focal point for general international
contacts in counter-trafficking efforts is the Director
General of Consular Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs. The Ministry of Interior, on the other hand,
has appointed national contact points to cooperate with
the Stability Pact Task Force in areas of awareness
raising, exchange of expert information, law enforcement
and victim protection. Contact point from the Ministry
of Justice has assumed co-ordination on legal reform.

Turkey has proposed bilateral co-operation and a draft
protocol on cooperation in combating trafficking in
human beings to the main countries of origin, whose
nationals target Turkey in search of better standards of
living and some of them become vulnerable to
exploitation. So far, the positive responses of Belarus,
Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Georgia have been received. In
this respect, on 28 July 2004, Turkish and Belarus
Interior Ministers signed a Memorandum of Understanding
to enhance cooperation and show their determination in
combating trafficking in human beings. In source
countries, Turkish missions have expanded their
activities in order to cooperate within the framework of
the said protocols.

A Twinning Project on "Strengthening Institutions in the
Fight against Trafficking in Human Beings" has been
developed under the European Union 2003 Pre-accession
Financial Assistance Programme. The overall objective of
the project is to meet the minimum standards for the
elimination of trafficking in human beings and
strengthen the institutions dealing with trafficking.
The planned duration of the project is 18 months. The
proposal of the Federal Republic of Germany has been
accepted, within this proposal the short-term expertise
of the Austrian team will also be provided.

On the other hand, visa application measures are set in
order to prevent fake certificates of good services
issued by some companies in the countries of origin to
be used in the entertainment sector, such as in casinos
or hotels. In this respect, a questionnaire is prepared
to obtain detailed information on the identity of visa
applicants. Visa applicants are requested to fill in and
sign in this questionnaire. The aim of the questionnaire
is to determine whether or not the certificates of good
services are authentic. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs
of the States concerned has to certify the authenticity
of these documents before Turkish authorities accept the
said documents.


Current activities and needs for improvement

- Prosecution of Traffickers

In Turkey prostitution is legal and is considered as a
personal matter of the individual. It is, however,
prohibited for foreigners.

Although incitement to prostitution and trafficking in
human beings are crimes that require heavy penalties
under Turkish Penal Code, since the victims tend to hide
or deny their cases due to traditional and ethical
reasons or security concerns, identification and/or
prosecution of those responsible for these crimes is
difficult. Without victim's assistance and testimony,
legal action against criminals becomes impossible.

In the meantime, police has initiated action against 40
enterprises in the entertainment sector upon suspected
human trafficking activities. Investigations are
underway.

-Victim Protection

As a major step, the Ministry of Interior signed a
protocol on 4 September 2003 with the Foundation for the
Development of Human Resources (IKGV), a well-
established non-governmental organization that actively
involves in projects aimed at improving social and
health conditions and assists to victims of trafficking
in human beings. The protocol includes provisions on the
establishment of shelters and a center to provide
victims with psychological and medical counseling, the
establishment of a regional network involving NGOs also
from the countries of origin and on awareness raising
activities. According to the protocol, the security
units will inform the IKGV when they identify a victim
of trafficking. Representatives of the IKGV will
communicate with the victim and provide the victim with
medical and legal assistance. The Gendarmerie has
recently signed another protocol with the IKGV on June
2004, to this end.

The Turkish Government, with its limited resources,
provides, if necessary, accommodation and emergency
services including psychiatric services, out of national
budget and funds. The Ministry of Health has made the
necessary arrangements in order to provide medical
treatment free of charge to victims of trafficking in
human beings. A decree to this effect has become
effective on 2 January 2004.

The Ministry of Interior is developing an improved
screening method in order to identify victims of
trafficking and to address their specific needs. A
questionnaire with the cooperation of the MFA and the
IKGV has been prepared to this effect. At the National
Task Force meeting members were asked to elaborate
additional criteria to be included in the questionnaire.

Moreover, victims who would like to return to their
country are not subjected to pay a fine due to their
illegal overstay.

Women who are not identified as victims of trafficking
in human beings go through a process that includes a
thorough compulsory medical check at hospitals. Multiple
tests are conducted to confirm the diagnosis in cases of
infection. Tests are completed within one day. In
curable cases like syphilis, treatment is also
concluded. Final test results should be available before
repatriation.

The National Task Force is working on a special
arrangement to allow allocation of funds from the Social
Aid and Solidarity Fund of the Prime Ministry, which is
designed to provide aid to Turkish citizens in need of
help and, if necessary, to those who entered to Turkey.
When finalized, foundations established by the Fund in
931 towns will be able to assist victims of trafficking
under this arrangement.

To address the specific needs of the children, a new
Department for Children Affairs has been established
within the Ministry of Interior. Accordingly Children
Protection Units have been designated in 81 cities.

- Repatriation

Certain difficulties are experienced in the safe return
of victims to their countries of origin. It takes
between 10 days to 2 months to obtain necessary travel
documents. Difficulties are also encountered in covering
travel expenses due to lack of special funds.

The Ministry of Interior authorized governorates to
issue the victims of trafficking with a humanitarian
visa and temporary residence permit where necessary in
order to allow them to stay in Turkey for rehabilitation
and treatment. So far, 25 victims were issued with such
permits.

The Ministry of Interior has authorized governorates on
April 9, 2004, to extend the duration of temporary
residence permits up to 6 months for the victims of
trafficking. Residence permits may be extended further
if necessary.

- Researches and Statistics

A special questionnaire was prepared and sent over to
10.000 courts nationwide. Another questionnaire to
collect detailed data on sentenced criminals and on
trafficking victims has also been sent out.

According to Article 201/b (human trafficking) of the
TPC the final processed data regarding the cases that
were transferred to the criminal courts and concluded
within the first half of the year 2004, is as follows:
12 lawsuits were concluded. In two of these cases 7
accused persons were confined to imprisonment or fine.

Yalova Criminal Court issued verdict (according to
Article 201/b of the TPC) for five defendants on
February 11, 2004, four of whom have been confined to
imprisonment of 4 years and 2 months and a fine of
1.325.000.000. -TL. The accused persons are prohibited
from employment in public services for 3 years.

Fethiye Criminal Court issued verdict (according to
Article 201/b of the TPC) for three defendants on May
12, 2004. According to the verdict, all of the
defendants have been confined to imprisonment of 4
years, 10 months and 10 days and a fine of 972.221.000.
-TL.

- Awareness Raising/Media Coverage
Turkish media is sensitive to criminal and humanitarian
aspects of trafficking in human beings. Trafficking
cases and international developments are reported widely
in the media.

Awareness raising activities are focused on official
targets such as law enforcement authorities. In addition
to training programs, various events were organized to
raise awareness and interest on the issue.

In this respect, the Enlarged Council of the
International Women Lawyers Federation, which was held
in Turkey on 1 September 2001, had trafficking in human
beings as the special topic on its agenda. The President
of the Republic of Turkey, Mr. Ahmet Necdet Sezer and
the Minister of Justice opened the meeting. 150 women
lawyers attended the meeting and a final declaration was
adopted.

The Directorate General of the Status and Problems of
Woman organized two panels on 19 December 2002 and 18
December 2003. Chiefs of Security of several cities,
several NGOs and local press representatives
participated in the said panels. During the panels, a
consensus on establishing cooperation to combat human
trafficking between NGO's representatives and
Governorates has been reached. Similar panels are
planned to be organized in other provinces. Moreover, a
meeting with the representatives of media has been
organized in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to inform
the public through the media on the fight against
trafficking in human beings. The statements made in the
panels were also published as a book in 2004.

The Human Rights Presidency of the Prime Minister's
Office organized ten seminars for representatives of the
media in May 2003. Seven other seminars for state
officials are planned within the framework of a project
financed by the Council of Europe. Awareness raising
programs are also planned for members of city and town
councils.

Within the framework of the World Tourism and Ethical
Act, the Ministry of Tourism in July 2002 has prepared a
guide for the use of all the actors of the tourism
sector. The Guide has been compiled by the members of
144 countries of the World Tourism Organization and has
been accepted by the General Assembly of the United
Nations during the 13th Meeting of the UN General
Assembly by the majority. It includes regulations to be
implemented by all the parties concerned in the tourism
sector.

According to the paragraph 3 of the Article 2 of the
said guide, countries shall in cooperation with other
countries, take the necessary measures in order to
prevent all kind of exploitation and especially the
exploitation of children. These measures shall not be
taken only by the country which is receiving tourists,
but also by the country of origin of the person who
committed the said offense during his visit."

- Training

Anti-trafficking training is an integral part of the
general professional training in the Turkish
International Academy against Drugs and Organized
Crimes. During the 4-week basic training program a full
day is allocated to special training on trafficking
issues. Participants include police officers as well as
other national and regional law enforcement officials.

Trafficking in human beings has also been included in
the curricula of the Police Academy for final year
students starting from this academic year. Around one
thousand students will benefit from this lesson.
Additionally, the Turkish Gendarmerie has included as
from October 2003 the subject of trafficking in human
beings in its education curriculum.

The Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Justice are
organizing special seminars/training programs to address
different aspects of trafficking. Turkish experts take
part also in comprehensive training programs organized
by the Stability Pact Task Force, ICMPD and IOM.
In this framework, in 2004, 332 law enforcement officers
took in-service training courses on professional
approach to the trafficked persons and combating human
trafficking.


Recent Developments

As a result of the consultations between Istanbul
Metropolitan Municipality and Human Resources
Development Foundation (IKGV) under the guidance of
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a shelter in Istanbul was
provided for the victims of trafficking. A protocol on
the establishment of the shelter was signed between
Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality and IKGV during the
NATO Summit with the participation of Deputy Prime
Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdullah Gl
and United States Secretary of State Colin Powell.
In accordance with the National Action Plan, competent
authorities were also notified for the establishment of
a hotline.

The new Penal Code which was adopted by the Turkish
Grand National Assembly on 26 September 2004 placed a
special emphasis for human trafficking and migrant
smuggling. In this respect, it introduces an important
provision (Article 80) bringing penalties 8 to 12 years
imprisonment and a fine corresponding to a maximum
period of ten thousand days' imprisonment to human
traffickers. Article 80 which will become effective on 1
April 2005, also introduces safety measures for legal
entities involved in human trafficking.

As a result of the operation organized by the
Directorate of Security of Erzurum, 11 persons have been
arrested and 9 of them have been sent to Court. 3 of
them were police officers. An investigation has been
launched about those 3 police officers. After their
trial, 2 police officers are sentenced to 6 months of
imprisonment and to heavy fine. They are also expelled
from their profession. One police officer has acquitted.
This event shows once again the importance that Turkey
attaches to combating trafficking in human beings.

On January 2004, with the cooperation of the Ministry of
Justice, the IKGV and the British Council, a seminar for
judges on trafficking in human beings was organized in
Istanbul. The particularity of the seminar was that 40
attorney generals have attended this training.

The Ministry of Interior, ensuring better dialog and co-
ordination between the police and the other relevant
authorities dealing with human trafficking, has
established a specialized unit dealing with trafficking
cases on January 2004.

Following the new Road Transportation Law which entered
into force on 19 July 2003, a Road Transportation
Regulation became effective on 25 February 2004. The
Regulation states that the transportation permit will be
cancelled for 3 years if the person is sentenced
according to certain crimes including human trafficking
and migrant smuggling. According to the regulation, the
sentenced persons are also prohibited to work at
transportation cooperatives as members of executive
boards or as representatives with authorization to sign.

The Ministry of Labor and Social Security prepared a
sample contract in Turkish and in the language of the
applicant for working permit. The sample contract
includes clauses on the working conditions, such as the
minimum wage. Furthermore, the emergency number of the
police is mentioned in the sample contract. The
coordinates of the IKGV were also included.

EDELMAN

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