Report: Syrian women in Turkey’s refugee camps forced into prostitution

Syrian women who had to fled from their war-torn country to Turkey with their families have been forced into prostitution in the refugee camps, which have been administered by Turkish state-run AFAD (Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency) in Elbeyli district of Kilis province and Islahiye district of Gaziantep province, reported by pro-Kurdish Dihaber news agency.

According to the report, young girls aged between 16 to 17 years old in the refugee camps are forced into prostitution and the camp officials tolerate the agents to freely enter the refugee camps to arrenge prostitution deals. The witnesses stated that “Under the pretext of labor they take some women with them and after having put them through prostitution they bring these girls back.”

A Turkish citizen, Yaşar Budak, who have reportedly been married to three Syrian women till today, has confessed that all Syrian refugee women in his town have been taken out of the camp after agreements have been forged with their families. Budak told Dihaber that “The consent of the women does not play any role, as soon as money gets paid to their families those women could not return to the camps again.”

Claiming that the district has turned into being a sex trade center because of the agents have been assigned to keep this trade going on, Budak has explained that following a deal with those agents, camp officials are getting contacted and women are taken out of the camps. Budak has claimed that the camp officials totally ignore what has been happening and keep silent in the face of this trade.

“Some women might truly marry, but in most cases the wedding is a gate to prostitution. Some days ago a 15 year old child returned to her family in the camp. The child was pregnant. After finishing their job with the kid they sent her back to her family. Countless women, who are taken out of the camps on the pretext of marriages, are forced into prostitution at the edge of highways and pavilions,” said Budak.

Dihaber has also reported the claims over that the camp officials and prostitution gangs are working hand in hand. A security guard work for an Islahiye refugee camp, who wanted to remain anonymous, told Dihaber that: “In the camp, children between 16 and 17 years old are already forced into prostitution. We do not know who are the agents. But camp officials do permit them to freely enter and leave the camps. Under the pretext of labor they take some women with them and after having put them through prostitution they bring these girls back. This cycle is repeated again and again.”

The guard has also claimed that the Syrian women, who are sexually exploited, are between 15 and 30 years old and the officials of the refugee camps are well aware of all these. The security guard has also claimed that the refugees living in the camps are facing severe violence and sometimes this violence turn into pure torture.

Dihaber has reported that many people from Konya, Mersin, Adana, İstanbul and İzmir provinces come to the region to buy hundreds of women under the name of marriages. “And some of these women who were sold on the name of marriage are exploited in prostitution pavilions in Antakya,” said the report.

July 3, 2017

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