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2004-04-13 13:30:00
Embassy Ankara
Cable title:  

Trafficking in Persons: IOM Reports Recent

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						UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 09 ANKARA 002138 



E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: Trafficking in Persons: IOM Reports Recent
Developments in Turkey

Ref: 04ANK1595

1. (U) SUMMARY: In April 9 discussions with Emboff, IOM
Chief of Mission Regina Boucault cited 1) ongoing
anti-TIP training for Turkish law enforcement
officials, and 2) implementation of a victim referral
agreement between the Ministry of Interior and
Turkey's leading TIP NGO as continuing evidence of the
GOT's shift toward cooperation, progress in anti-
trafficking efforts. END SUMMARY.

2. (U) According to IOM Mission Director Regina Boucault,
extensive training activities (reftel) initiated by
both IOM and GOT are gaining momentum in Turkey. The
training programs are designed to alert judicial and
law enforcement officials - judges, prosecutors,
border guards, national and military police - to
special screening, processing, and humanitarian
requirements for trafficking victims. "Training has
an impact, we're seeing a change in attitude and
awareness." She cited as evidence, two repatriations
of trafficking victims in the last week. She noted,
police in Mersin screened two Moldovan women and
transferred them to Adana after determining both were
victims of trafficking. Police contacted HRDF and IOM
with details immediately and, as the two women
requested, repatriated them within 24 hours of their
first contact. Post is currently following up with
IOM Moldova, and Turkish MFA officials for further
details related to these cases.

3. (U) The next in an ongoing series of IOM TIP workshops
is scheduled for April 14-16 for the General Command
of the Turkish Military Police. Other GOT attendees
will include: representatives from Turkey's MOJ, MFA
and Security Directorate. Europol and UK police will
also participate. IOM workshops and training
programs, according to Boucault, focus on critical TIP
issues including: Identifying Trafficked Victims;
Differences in International Legal Definitions of TIP
Crimes and Migrant Smuggling; Causes of Human
Trafficking, Actors, Mechanisms, and Consequences;
Violation of Human Rights; Activities in Counter
Trafficking; Case Studies; Treatment of Traffic
Victims; TIP Conditions in Turkey; Best Practices for
Treatment of Victims; Treatment of Victims as
Witnesses; Investigation Methods and Techniques; and
Intelligence on Trafficking.

4. (U) Though pleased with the recent change in momentum,
Boucault notes that IOM is still working with the GOT
and HRDF to establish a clear referral mechanism that
minimizes the number of bureaucratic hurdles to
assisting TIP victims. According to Boucault, "Police
contact HRDF whenever they have a trafficking case.
HRDF refers the matter to IOM with the information
they have available. IOM then has to go back to

identify which Police Officer is in charge, where,
etc." Boucault notes that changes in these current
referral procedures will be tough to implement in the
absence of a shelter for victims of trafficking. She
is currently working with Beyhan Bagis and her husband
Egemen Bagis, an AK Party Istanbul MP and close
advisor to PM Erdogan, to try to help establish the
shelter. IOM and HRDF are also pursuing other funding
opportunities for the project (see proposal in para

5. (U) In the meantime, Boucault notes, IOM and HRDF are
hard at work organizing training programs with
important TIP themes, pointing to the following press
report published by IOM in February 2004. Begin text:

TURKEY - Counter Trafficking Training for Law
Enforcement Officials - The IOM office in Ankara
has taken part in two counter trafficking
training seminars for Turkish law enforcement

The two-day seminars, which brought together 50
chief prosecutors, representatives from the
Turkish NGO, Human Resource Development
Foundation (HRDF), and the Ministry of Justice,
focused primarily on international legislation
and prevention, protection and assistance to
victims of trafficking.

The training sessions also reviewed case studies
and best practices in the field of counter-

A recent IOM report confirmed that growing
numbers of foreign women from the former Soviet
republics are being trafficked to and through
Turkey often for sexual exploitation.

According to the report, Turkish authorities have
made considerable efforts to combat irregular
migration and trafficking in human beings; both
in terms of legislation and institutional
reforms. But more needs to be done to raise
awareness amongst the general public and to
support and coordinate the work of NGOs and other
organizations involved in prevention, protection
and assistance to the victims. END TEXT.

6. (U) Boucault pointed to a March 6 IOM letter addressed
to Turkey's anti-trafficking authorities. Begin text:

The International Organization for Migration
highly values the medical treatment free of
charge offered to victims of trafficking in
Turkey. This is a demonstration of the important
steps being undertaken by the Turkish authorities
on behalf of trafficked persons and IOM
congratulates the authorities for it. End text.


A Pilot-Project for a comprehensive approach to the
protection of victims of trafficking:




The overall aim of the pilot-project is to set up a
protection mechanism for victims of trafficking,
initially in Istanbul. Such a protection mechanism
will have three components. The first is to provide
training to police officers to raise their awareness
on the issue of trafficking, provide guidelines on the
identification of and appropriate treatment to victims
of trafficking.

The second component includes the establishment of a
Reception Center for abused foreign women who have
been trafficked for sexual exploitation and have
been rescued or have managed to escape from their
condition and are in need of protection.

The third component will provide safe, humane and
voluntary return home to the trafficked women. In
order to ensure the sustainability of the return, a
Reintegration Fund will be established to provide
vocational training or loans.

At the end of the project some 300 young women and
girls will have been assisted in Turkey and to
return safely to their home countries.

At the end of the pilot project, it is also expected
that a mechanism would have been set up with
government entities for the referral of and
assistance to trafficked women as well as a
voluntary return mechanism in line with
international standards and practices within the EU
countries. Ultimately, it is expected that the
project will help to create a coordinated mechanism
between Government authorities, partner NGOs,
Consulates and Embassies of countries of origin and
IOM in the provision of appropriate and timely
assistance to victims of trafficking.

Background and Justification: Trafficking in women
for sexual exploitation has reached alarming
proportions in the region over the course of the
last few years, as documented by a number of IOM
studies on this subject, and by the media at large.

Economic disparities between the countries of
Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and some of their
wealthier neighbors, high unemployment and lack of
opportunities at home, insufficient information on
migration realities and the consequences of
irregular migration, are some of the factors which
combine to make of Eastern European and CIS
countries major source countries of trafficked
migrant women.

Turkey has become a favored destination in the
region as it is perceived to be offering an
attractive combination of desirable elements for a
would-be migrant in search of better economic
prospects: geographic proximity, economic
opportunities, and a liberal visa regime. This
situation is thoroughly exploited by migrant
traffickers who recruit young women and girls
sometimes with the promise of regular employment,
but ultimately with the result of forced
prostitution, debt bondage, and various forms of
abuse including forced confinement, control of
personal documents and passports, threat and abuse.

Women and girls arrested by the Aliens' Police are
treated as other irregular migrants, namely they are
taken to the aliens' detention centers, primarily in
Istanbul and the larger cities, and are subsequently
subject to deportation for overstaying their visas
or not having any valid document. Deportation of
Romanians and Moldovans is carried out by bus,
across Bulgaria, to the Romanian city of Constanza
on the Black Sea; others are deported by sea to
Odessa. There is evidence that traffickers, aware of
this return pattern, position themselves in the
towns immediately across the border in neighboring
countries where they take advantage of bus stopovers
or boat arrivals to approach the returnees and
intimidate or attract them into rejoining the
trafficking cycle. Some women report of having been
coerced into prostitution right after crossing the
border, of being forced to return to Turkey, or of
being relocated to other markets deemed more
lucrative (Cyprus, Italy, etc). Those women who are
not intercepted by traffickers across the border are
expected to organize their own transportation to
their final destination. Most of them do not have
the means to cover these costs. Dumped across
borders, these women are extremely vulnerable to new
recruitment by agents and traffickers who operate in
the area.

Prostitution is not prohibited in Turkey. However,
the law is very restrictive with respect to the work
of foreigners. Therefore, foreign women trapped into
prostitution are often contravening the national
laws in two respects: illegal practice of work as
well as illegal stay in the country. Furthermore,
the network of NGOs in Turkey is not very strong and
non-existent for foreign women caught in irregular
situations. And even if NGOs existed, the very fact
that the women are in an irregular situation would
prevent them from leaving the country without the
involvement of the Turkish authorities. Henceforth,
they have nowhere to turn to for assistance to
protect them against their traffickers and no means
to return home even if they can pay the airfare.

The issue of Trafficking is gaining momentum in
Turkey in Government circles as well as in the
public opinion. In the last years, and in the
framework of the EU accession process, Turkey has
modified its legislation to combat trafficking. In
particular, the amendments to the Penal Code and the
Law on Combating Profit-Oriented Criminal
Organizations, adopted by the Turkish Parliament in
2002 introduces the definition of human trafficking
and smuggling into the Turkish legal system and
prescribes heavy penalties for the traffickers and
smugglers. Furthermore, the Draft Law on Work
Permits for Foreigners, approved by Turkish
Parliament in 2003 makes it possible for some
categories, including domestic workers, to be
employed legally in Turkey. Article 5 of the
Citizenship Law was amended to fight trafficking in
women through false marriages: while a request for
Turkish citizenship could be filled immediately
after marriage, under the new law, a provisional
period of 3 years is needed before a request can be

The legislation is fully in force and the results of
its implementation remain to be seen. So far, when
the Police apprehend women, that could be victims of
trafficking, they are too often apprehended and
deported on the basis of their illegal stay in the
country. If women are suspected to work in the sex
industry, they are sent for medical check and if
found with STDs are immediately deported. Unless
they are willing to cooperate with the Police and
testify in court, they may not be granted the
necessary protection/assistance that a victim needs.
While training in combating organized crime is part
of the curriculum of the training in the Police
force, such training touches upon large networks,
drugs and arms in particular.

In order to implement the new legislation, several
ministries are taking practical measures. The
Ministry of the Interior has issued a directive
sensitizing the Police force to the trafficking
issue and the way to treat apprehended victims of
trafficking. The Ministry of Tourism has
established a specific questionnaire for visa
application in various languages to avoid abuses in
employment. The Ministry of the Interior and the
Ministry of Justice are conducting training seminars
on the issue of Trafficking.

The Turkish Government has taken various other
measures. An inter-ministerial task force has been
set up under the leadership of the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs tasked with the elaboration of a
Plan of Action to deal with the trafficking issue.
The Plan of action has identified priorities, which
were endorsed by the Prime Ministry. They include
training of the Law enforcement bodies, involvement
and training of NGOs to deal with the issue as well
as the establishment of Emergency hot lines free of
charge for victims of trafficking, as well as the
establishment of Reception Centers.

However, the resources required to cope with this
issue as well as that of the dramatic flows of
irregular migrants stranded in Turkey on their way
westwards are inadequate. Turkey lacks the full
financial as well as human resources and facilities
to cope with these irregular trends. And yet, the
urgency to provide basic protection to the victims
of trafficking becomes a priority. The efforts and
changes put in place by the Turkish authorities as
described above need to be supported and extended on
a large scale.

In order to raise awareness on the issue of
trafficking in Turkey, IOM carried out a preliminary
study on "Trafficking in Women: the Case of Turkey".
It is the first study of its kind in Turkey where
little is actually known on the issue. In fact,
when IOM Turkey launched the study it was mainly
because IOM Research studies from neighboring
countries (of origin), which all pointed out to
Turkey as a destination and transit country. The
Study has confirmed that Turkey is mainly a
destination country. Because of a liberal visa
regime, women from the former Soviet Union come
legally to Turkey but often overstay their visa and
then become vulnerable and easy prey to abuse. They
are usually well educated but feel compelled to
leave their homes in search of work and better
opportunities. The study further identifies that
trafficking to Turkey is more often through
relatives and friends. Although the Turkish
authorities have introduced legal changes, as
mentioned above, much remains to be done. In
particular to fully implement these changes
throughout the country, to raise awareness on
Trafficking of the Law enforcement officers and the
Judiciary as well as the public opinion and the
media, to establish Reception Centers for victims of
trafficking as well as a return mechanism based on
voluntariness. In this regard, the Study points out
to the need to involve the civil society and the
NGOs in the provision of protection, health and
legal assistance.




Project description; In order to support the
Government of Turkey's efforts, IOM would assist in
the following:

- Awareness raising workshops for Law Enforcement
and Referral Services. The Police being, very
often, the first and most important interface
with victims of trafficking, they constitute the
major actor in ensuring that immediate protection
is granted to the victims. As an essential
component of the protection set up, Police
officers need to be sensitized to the issue of
trafficking, to the plight of victims of
trafficking, to international standards in
dealing with victims of trafficking, to
international conventions and national laws, to
best practices. The Police needs to be able to
identify victims of trafficking and be aware of
the particular assistance they need.

In addition to such training of a general scope
for front line officers, IOM would provide
specific training on investigative techniques to
better fight trafficking.

At the same time, other actors such as social
workers, local authorities, the Judiciary, NGOs
working in the field, are similarly in need of
training on a new issue for them. These training
workshops would be extended to them.

A measured and targeted information initiative to
inform victims of trafficking that there is a way
out of their plight and that assistance is
available would be set up. In particular,
information on the establishment of a Hotline -
run by an NGO under IOM supervision - would be an
efficient tool to improve the referral system.
Training of the persons managing the hotline will
be provided.

- Protection/Temporary Reception Center; IOM would
work with a local NGO to set up a first Reception
Centre in accordance with appropriate standards.
Under IOM supervision, the selected NGO would
progressively run the Reception Centre. The
victims of trafficking will stay in the Reception
Centre while IOM is arranging for their voluntary
return home. In the Reception Center, victims of
trafficking will receive food and accommodation
and appropriate legal, medical and psychological
care, using local facilities as needed, and any
other assistance that may be required.

The Turkish authorities have established a
'humanitarian visa' to enable victims of
trafficking who are willing to testify in court
to temporarily stay in Turkey legally. The
Reception Centers will be open to them throughout
the legal process.

For security reasons the Reception Center should
be guarded on a 24 hour basis and its location
should not be disclosed publicly to prevent the
victims from being abducted or harassed by their
traffickers. For obvious reasons also, the
Police should not be visible and will not enter
the Reception Center unless specifically
requested by IOM or to escort to Court those who
have accepted to testify against their

In the Reception Center, IOM will conduct
thorough interviews of the victims, including
their personal and educational background,
reasons for coming, routes, assistance to migrate
etc., as well as to prepare for the return and
possible reintegration assistance in the home
country. This information will be confidential
in order to urge the victims to provide much
needed information on their plight as well as to
tailor any reintegration component back home.
This information will feed in a central database
established in IOM Headquarters.

- Voluntary return assistance; IOM would provide
assistance to those who would volunteer to return
home. IOM Staff will conduct a private interview
and a Voluntary Return Form will be signed in
situ. IOM will further arrange for the
documentation with Consulates of the relevant
countries whether in country or abroad; the exit
formalities in accordance with national laws;
transit if necessary; reception in the home
country by IOM missions and transportation to the
final destination. Assisted voluntary returns
will follow IOM regular procedures.

- Reintegration Assistance; The project foresees
the creation of a Reintegration fund that would
be used on a voluntary basis and in close
cooperation with IOM missions in the countries of
origin. Reintegration assistance would be sought
as appropriate on a case-by-case basis in the
form of vocational training, loan funds, micro-
enterprise, etc. Funds disbursed to set up a
business would be on a reimbursable basis - a
means to assess the validity of the project and
the accountability of the person - but with no
interest. Vocational training will be given
considering the personal background of the

Rehabilitation in the form of medical and
psychosocial assistance will continue to be
provided in the country of origin as needed.

- IOM Expertise vis-a-vis Project Activities; IOM
has established itself as an important agency in
combating trafficking. Since 1993, IOM focused
on preventing and combating trafficking in women
and children through research, information
sharing, information campaigns/prevention, and
assisted return and reintegration support for the
victims of trafficking. Since 1995, IOM has
published over fifteen case studies on the
worldwide trafficking of women, and also
publishes a quarterly newsletter on trends in
migrant trafficking and measures being taken by
governments to combat it. In 2000, two
fundamental studies Migrant Trafficking and Human
Smuggling in Europe and "Perspectives on
Trafficking of Migrants" were published and well
appreciated, both by the academic and counter-
trafficking professional communities.

There are currently over 70 IOM counter-
trafficking projects, active or in development,
targeting over 50 countries in Africa, Asia,
Central, Eastern and Western Europe, and Latin
America, as well as one global assistance project
targeting all developing countries in Africa,
Asia and Latin America.




The main objective is to assist the Turkish
authorities in setting up a comprehensive protection
mechanism for victims of Trafficking and enhance the
country's capacity to combat trafficking in Human




The project purposes is to provide protection to the
victims of trafficking through the provision of training to
sensitize Law enforcement and Judicial officers and other
social partners to the issue of trafficking, to the
national and international instruments, to international
standards of screening, referrals and treatment of victims
of trafficking and best practices in order to give them the
tools to identify and provide appropriate assistance to the
victims of trafficking.

- The establishment of a Reception Center, with
medical care and legal counseling;

- a voluntary return scheme in safety and dignity to
the home country;

- a reintegration fund to provide a livelihood to the
returnees and ensure the sustainability of the return
and the empowerment of former victims of Trafficking.




- Training of 100 Law enforcement Officers, including
Police, Gendarmerie, Judges, social workers, etc.

- Setting up of a fully functioning Reception center for 30
trafficked women at a time with provision of legal
counseling, medical care and any other assistance that may
be required.

- Ensuring a fully functioning hot line with trained staff
with language abilities.

- Provision of return assistance to 300 trafficked women
and setting up of a return mechanism in cooperation with
national authorities.

- Setting up of a Reintegration Fund for vocational
training or creation of small-scale enterprises on a
voluntary and reimbursable basis.




- Capacity Building/Awareness raising workshops for
Law Enforcement officers and the civil society
- Develop a curriculum that would combine theory and
practice and include national and international
instruments, international conventions, best
practices, case studies;

- Organize training sessions;

- Identify the trainers at national and international

- Coordinate with Government authorities the list of

- Provide appropriate training to 100 persons;

- Protection/Temporary Reception Center
Identify a Reception Center to be provided by local

- Identify a local NGO to manage the Reception Center
under IOM overall supervision and monitoring;

- Train the staff who would run the Reception Center;
- Link up with health care providers to provide
medical assistance including specialized treatment;

- Set up a legal counseling facility;

- Hot line: Develop a strategy and tools to
disseminate information about the hotline and the
Reception Center;
- Train appropriate staff on 24/7 basis
(Psychologists, Law enforcers, Social workers) with
language abilities;

- Voluntary return assistance: Set up a mechanism
with relevant Turkish authorities for IOM staff to
interview possible trafficked women in detention and
organize transfer to the Reception Center for those
who have actually been trafficked. Register the

- Obtain travel documents as necessary from the
Consulates of countries of origin;

- Organize exit formalities with the appropriate
Turkish authorities;

- Make travel arrangements including determination of
itinerary and booking as well as transit assistance
when necessary;

- Coordinate with IOM Missions in transit and origin
country for further assistance including onward
transportation, reception;

- Arrange departure assistance at airport by IOM
Turkey staff;

- Disbursement of an allowance for onward
transportation and pocket money;

- Reintegration; Provide counseling and referral upon
arrival in the country of origin as feasible and

- Set up a reintegration fund for vocational training
or creation of small-scale enterprise in which each
training or creation of business will be evaluated
according to individual merits and funding




International Organization for Migration (IOM):

- Responsible for all components of project

- Provision of technical and operational expertise in
project implementation and administration;

- Responsible for financial accountability;

- Supervision and monitoring of project partners;

- Coordination and cooperation with government
authorities, other IOM Missions, Consulates and other
partners as appropriate;

- Keeping up a well-documented database;

- Regular reporting to donors.

The Government of Turkey:

- Identify the required number of participants to the
training workshops and facilitate their attendance.

- Facilitate the organization and funding of the
training workshops by providing facilities for their
venue and other in-kind contributions.

- Cooperate with IOM and its partners in project
implementation, in particular rescue, easy and regular
access to the detention center to interview and assess
potential trafficking cases; facilitate and expedite
exit formalities; facilitate IOM voluntary return
scheme, etc.

- Provide free of charge an appropriate Reception
Center to host some 30 persons

- Provide overall security to the Reception Center
outside of its premises and as required to the victims
themselves upon request of IOM.

- Provide a Hotline facility.

- Provide free medical checks in Government hospitals
for victims of trafficking

- Waive any fine related to overstay in the country.




The pilot project will be monitored and evaluated by IOM
according to its internal procedures, in addition to any
criteria and timeframe that might be mutually agreed with
the donors. IOM will provide an update on a regular basis,
including statistical data and migrants profiles as well as
recommendations for follow up measures or necessary
adaptations of the current project. IOM will provide an
interim progress report after 6 months implementation as
well as a yearly financial and narrative report.




This project will be implemented on the assumption that:

- The Turkish authorities will provide the necessary
staff for training.

- The Turkish authorities will provide the Reception
Center premises and ensure security of the premises.

- The Turkish authorities will provide a free of
charge hotline.

- The Turkish authorities will provide full support to
the project and to the return scheme in accordance
with IOM requirements and procedures.

- The victims of trafficking will be willing to
benefit from the program.

- The Embassies of the countries of origin will
provide assistance in documentation, translation and
other support as necessary.