Turkey ranks among top five countries with highest incidence of modern slavery

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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Published By: Atilla Yeşilada

GlobalSource Partners’ Turkey Country Analyst Atilla Yesilada is the country’s leading political analyst and commentator. He is known throughout the finance and political science world for his thorough and outspoken coverage of Turkey’s political and financial developments. In addition to his extensive writing schedule, he is often called upon to provide his political expertise on major radio and television channels. Based in Istanbul, Atilla is co-founder of the information platform Istanbul Analytics and is one of GlobalSource’s local partners in Turkey. In addition to his consulting work and speaking engagements throughout the US, Europe and the Middle East, he writes regular columns for Turkey’s leading financial websites VATAN and www.paraanaliz.com and has contributed to the financial daily Referans and the liberal daily Radikal.