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While Turkey has long been a source country in the context of international migration flows, for the last decades it has become a destination country. The main factors affecting migration flows to Turkey are the political turmoil, disparities in income distribution, macro economic problems of the countries and gender inequality that directly increases women’s migration.

Within the this context Turkey has also become a destination country for the human trafficking crime due its geographical position, democratic and economical conditions and development level compared to other countries in the region. While hoping for a better life, some migrants, especially women find themselves trapped by traffickers and become victims in Turkey.

In general terms, human trafficking is a process by which a victim is exploited and subjected to many human rights violations. Victim works free of charge, her/his freedom is restrained; s/he is subjected to violence and faces all types of vital threats. Among many others; forced prostitution, forced labor in domestic sector, factories, sweatshops and agriculture are the most common forms of trafficking in the world. Men, women and children can become victims of this crime. Nationals of a country can also be victims of trafficking; however migrants are more vulnerable to fall prey to traffickers due to their disadvantages as foreigners.

Turkey has been fighting with this crime since early 2000s. Relevant international conventions have been ratified, legal amendments made, trainings for judiciary members and law enforcement officers have been organized and a simple national referral mechanism for victim support has been established.

HRDF is the first NGO in taking initiative to combat trafficking in Turkey. Initially developed in 2003, HRDF’s “Combating Human Trafficking Program” is improved and expanded through the years. The components of this program include:
  • Trainings/Awareness Raising: human trafficking trainings for relevant government officers such as judiciary, law enforcement and health personnel, as well as NGOs; awareness raising for general public; developing and distributing informative materials;
  • Victim Assistance: providing support for the female victims of trafficking;
  • Networking: National/international networking to improve the program and to be able to provide better support for the victims.

HRDF has signed cooperation protocols with Turkish Ministry of Interior. HRDF experts follow national and international developments related to trafficking and share their experience in national and international platforms.