The government increased victim protection efforts. The government identified 303 victims (181 in 2016); 186 were victims of sex trafficking, 52 of forced labor, and 65 of forced begging (143 were victims of sex trafficking, 30 of forced labor, and eight of forced begging in 2016); 212 were female and 91 were male (163 females and 18 males); 98 were children (29 in 2016). All were foreign victims in 2016 and 2017. Law enforcement conducted preliminary interviews and referred potential victims to the Directorate General for Migration Management (DGMM), which officially recognized victims; DGMM interviewed approximately 5,000 potential victims (1,930 in 2016) and increased staff at headquarters from nine to 15. However, DGMM staff’s ability to accurately identify victims varied among provinces and, in some cases, staff were reportedly reluctant to act on cases referred by civil society groups. Some observers reported a general lack of understanding and awareness of trafficking among some first responders and a lack of attention towards internal trafficking. Experts reported problems with authorities recognizing non-physical methods of control by traffickers. In some cases, weak interagency coordination on referral procedures may have resulted in some potential victims not receiving official victim status and the government services such status affords. The Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Family and Social Policies (MOFSP) continued to deploy specialized staff to government-operated migrant and refugee camps to screen camp residents for indicators of trafficking; however, observers reported the government did not make sufficient victim identification efforts in the highly vulnerable refugee and migrant communities outside of camps, or provide sufficient protection resources to address trafficking in these communities.
The law entitled equal services to all trafficking victims, including shelter, medical and psycho-social services, work options, education, translation services, temporary residency, repatriation assistance, and legal counseling. The government provided support to 151 victims (approximately 100 in 2016). The government covered funding for victims’ services through various funding streams and did not make available the total amount of funding specifically allocated for anti-trafficking efforts. The government allocated 3.5 million Lira ($923,970) to international organizations for anti-trafficking and migration-related efforts; it did not provide funding to domestic NGOs. A DGMM-run shelter had the capacity to and did accommodate 20 female sex trafficking victims and provided psychological support, health care, access to legal aid, and vocational training. One hundred and two MOFSP-run shelters also provided accommodation for victims of violence, including men and children, and 32 locally-administered shelters offered general support services to trafficking victims. The DGMM-run shelter and MOFSP-run shelters required victims to have an escort to leave the shelter during their initial stay but allowed victims to leave the shelter voluntarily once security officials completed an assessment and deemed conditions safe, which generally took a few days. Government-operated Monitoring Centers for Children provided support to child victims of violence, including trafficking. DGMM reported negotiating agreements with four municipality-run shelters to provide specialized services to trafficking victims. Observers expressed significant concern about the general lack of inclusion of civil society groups in the government’s victim protection efforts and the government’s increasing removal of them from identifying and providing services to victims. Three NGO-run shelters that provided the majority of specialized support services to trafficking victims since 2004 closed operations in 2016 for various reasons. One NGO-run shelter chose to close due to security concerns, the second chose to close in response to funding shortfalls, and the third was closed by DGMM.
The government likely deported and detained some trafficking victims due to inadequate identification efforts. Law entitled victims to a temporary residence permit for 30 days, which could be extended up to three years with the option to apply for a work permit; the government issued 145 residence permits (141 in 2016). NGOs reported significant hurdles for victims in acquiring work permission, including a requirement that victims move out of trafficking shelters to be eligible to work. DGMM reported assisting 193 victims’ repatriation. The government granted DGMM the right to participate in court proceedings as a formal party to provide victim support efforts. Additionally, the government adopted a new regulation on “legal interview rooms,” which allowed victims to testify in private rooms in order to reduce re-traumatization. The government did not report how many victims participated in criminal investigations or legal procedures. The law entitled victims to pursue restitution from their trafficker through civil suits and regulation entitled victims to one-time compensation but it did not define the amount or procedures to access it.