Customers help stamp out Turkey's sex slaves
Wednesday 28 December 2005
An unlikely hero has emerged in Turkey to rescue victims of forced prostitution: the brothel customer.
While the country's security forces are hardly renowned for their attention to human rights or sympathetic treatment of women, they have been chalking up impressive successes in finding and freeing trafficked women from brothels.
In the past six months, 100 women - mostly from Ukraine, Moldova, Romania or Russia - have been rescued from sex slavery and Turkish police have broken up 10 trafficking networks.
There are two reasons for these results. A charge-free hotline was set up in May by the UN's International Organisation for Migration (IOM) for women to call for help. It is staffed by multi-lingual operators who try to pinpoint where the women are - and then send in the police.
But the second, more unexpected, factor is the chivalry of the Turkish brothel client. Since the hotline started, 74 per cent of tip-offs have come from men: customers who have learned to spot the difference between a professional prostitute, and someone who's been forced into it.
"I've been very surprised," said Marielle Lindstrom, head of the IOM in Turkey. "We haven't noticed this anywhere in Europe. Turkish men seem to have an old-fashioned view of women. They don't mind using prostitutes, but they want the woman to be doing this willingly. If she's found not to be doing it willingly ... it affects their pride."
Unlike the professional Russian prostitutes, nicknamed "Natashas", who invaded casinos and clubs of holiday resorts in the 1990s, the trafficked women are not migrant sex workers.
Typically, they have been tricked into thinking they are coming to better-paid jobs. "I was told that someone named Veysel would meet me at Antalya airport and take me to my new job," one 31-year-old Moldovan woman told her rescuers. "Instead he took my passport and took me to a village. They put a gun to my head and threatened me, and then beat me. They told me if I didn't consent, they would kill me. They kept me locked in the house and brought customers to me."
The hotline is publicised in two ways: passport officials at borders and airports slip an information leaflet into the passports of women from high-risk countries; and a Russian language advert has been playing on Turkish television stations.
"Turkey respects your rights," it says. "If anyone takes away your passport, your freedom, or forces you to perform work of any kind without pay, call the helpline 157, free of charge. Any time, any phone."
Gillian Anderson lays into gender disparity in Hollywood
- 1 Snoop Dogg and Jared Leto buy a stake in Reddit as A-list invests $50m
- 2 Prince held a Facebook Q&A and this is the only question he answered...
- 3 'F*ck it, I quit': KTVA reporter Charlo Greene quits live on air in spectacular fashion
- 4 35,000 walrus gather ashore on north-west Alaska beach 'for a rest'
- 5 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
Snoop Dogg and Jared Leto buy a stake in Reddit as A-list invests $50m
Prince held a Facebook Q&A and this is the only question he answered...
Brad Pitt, on the moment he completely lost his temper with Clint Eastwood's son
Cheryl Cole officially 'the most dangerous celebrity' on the internet
Ebola virus in the US: What are the symptoms, what is it and is there a cure?
Exclusive: 'Putin's Russia has been my biggest regret,' says Nato's outgoing Secretary General
The Osborne Ultimatum: Chancellor’s benefits freeze bombshell will affect ten million households
There’s no excuse for Dave Lee Travis’s behaviour, but we need to keep a sense of proportion
Should gay sex be illegal? 16% of Britons think so
Mark Reckless becomes second Tory MP to defect to Ukip in a month
Benefits 'smart cards' plan revealed by Iain Duncan Smith to stop claimants spending welfare money on alcohol
- < Previous
- Next >
This is an unpaid volunteer role. : Belong: We are looking for volunteers who ...
£100 - £110 per day: Randstad Education Group: Supply Business Studies Teacher...
£110 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Cardiff: English Teacher - CaerphillyT...
Competitive Salary: Randstad Education Group: We have urgent and multiple vaca...