The Global Slavery Index revealed that there are more than 1.3 million “modern slaves” in Turkey. Turkey ranked among the top five countries where modern slavery is most prevalent.
According to the 2023 Global Slavery Index prepared by the United Nations (UN) International Labour Organization (ILO), the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Australia-based human rights organization Walk Free, 15.6 out of every thousand people in Turkey were defined as “modern slaves” in 2021.
Turkey standed out as the country with the highest incidence of modern slavery among the 47 nations evaluated in Europe and Central Asia. It also ranked among the countries with the highest prevalence worldwide, placing fifth out of a total of 160 countries examined. Moreover, Turkey has the second-highest estimated count of individuals living in modern slavery within the region, solidifying its position among the top ten globally.
The report also indicated Turkey as one of the least active countries in Europe and Central Asia in combating modern slavery.
Turkey is one of the countries most vulnerable to the risk of modern slavery in the region due to the situation of asylum seekers from conflict zones such as Syria. The report also highlighted the impact of poverty along with discrimination against asylum seekers and the LGBTI+ community, as well as the decline in women’s rights in recent years.
The report shed light on the targeted exploitation of Syrian women by criminal groups operating in Şanlıurfa, a city located along the border with Syria. The vulnerable group, especially widows, finds themselves in the crosshairs of these nefarious networks, capitalizing on the perception that they have limited protection.
The report pointed out that Turkey is not only affected by modern slavery within its own borders, but it also increases the risk of modern slavery abroad with the products it imports in some sectors like other G20 countries.
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