Prostitution in Turkey has been legalized and regulated. Also called “general prostitution houses” in the legal sense, all brothels in the country have to get special licenses from the state in order to operate legally. The local regulatory agencies to issue identity documents to registered sex workers which grant them certain rights to a free health care and other basic social services. These social services, however, are only available to people working in these brothels.
It was not until the mid-nineties that prostitution in Turkey became a problem. As the tourism industry flourished in the country, thousands of foreign men flocked to Turkey’s beaches. They brought with them their own problems, which included human slavery. With the influx of these undesirable strangers came a significant increase in prostitution in Turkey. Many people who were working as day laborers in coastal regions were lured by the promise of good jobs in Turkey’s tourism sector and ended up trapped in brothels.
The majority of these prostitutes in Turkey are working girls for the exclusive use of the men involved. Many of them started their prostitution as street women or farm girls and became legitimate sex workers once they got hold of their job. But others started as street prostitutes and later on converted to brothels. In order to arrest these prostitution culprits, Turkish police conducted sting operations wherein they enticed these prostitution criminals by offering tempting job offers.
Not all the women working as sex workers in Turkey are trapped in brothels. There are also some who earn money by taking nude photos and then posting them on websites available on the internet. Some of them even run small businesses and some of them are employed by Turkish banks as cashiers and tellers. They also have their own businesses in the tourism sector. Not all women working as prostitutes in Turkey are from poor backgrounds.
Besides Turkish women, there are other foreigners who have earned a great living from the prostitution in Turkey industry. Among them are many American, British and Irish citizens who have established their business in Turkey’s largest city Antalya. Some of them started their ventures by operating corrupt massage parlors. Some of them even used their prostitution services as a cover for drug trafficking. But they have changed now.
These so-called “sex slaves” in Turkey employ local women and charge them large sums of money in exchange for letting them perform sexual services on many people. Some of them even supply children, old people and the mentally handicapped with alcohol. These people even receive money in return for persuading other people that it is OK to work as prostitutes because they earn good money. In fact, many people are willing to pay even more to join prostitution as opposed to working in a normal job.
The demand for prostitution in Turkey has created a huge problem for the conservative members of the society. Many of them are against it and have filed numerous lawsuits against those who organize and facilitate the sex industry in Turkey. However, these lawsuits have run against the real problem. The real problem is that Turkey’s laws against prostitution are not effective. Many of the lawyers and police officials who file these lawsuits do not know the realities of the situation.
The main reason why prostitution in Turkey continues unabated is the presence of organized and criminal gangs which depend on the trade. Many of these groups operate directly under the nose of the state institutions and they use intermediaries and middlemen to get their workers and customers. Therefore, Turkey does not have the will power to curb the prostitution in Turkey industry. Even the local residents are afraid of talking about it. They are afraid that the trade might make Antalya even more dangerous than before.