The government maintained victim protection efforts, despite identifying fewer victims. DGMM identified 134 victims (303 in 2017); 95 were victims of sex trafficking and 39 of forced labor (186 were victims of sex trafficking, 52 of forced labor, and 65 of forced begging in 2017); 111 were female and 23 were male (212 females and 18 males in 2017); 15 were children (98 children in 2017). First responders referred potential victims to DGMM, which officially recognized victims; DGMM interviewed approximately 3,612 potential victims (5,000 in 2017). DGMM established protection desks in 61 provinces to assess vulnerable populations. In previous years, observers reported DGMM staff’s ability to accurately identify victims varied among provinces and, in some cases, staff were reluctant to act on cases referred by civil society groups. Observers reported a lack of understanding and awareness of trafficking among some first responders and inconsistent attention towards internal trafficking. Ministry of Family, Labor, and Social Services (MOFLSS) continued to deploy specialized staff to government-operated migrant and refugee temporary accommodation centers to screen camp residents for indicators of trafficking; however, observers reported the government continued to face difficulty in identifying victims in highly vulnerable refugee and migrant communities outside of camps and had insufficient protection resources to address trafficking in these communities. DGMM trained first responders on victim identification and referral and, in cooperation with MOFLSS, trained teachers, health workers, local administrative officials, guards, and imams on trafficking issues in several refugee temporary accommodation centers.
The law entitled equal services to officially identified 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 134 victims (151 victims in 2017). DGMM established a social security benefit system with an international NGO to provide monthly cash benefits to victims. The government offered one victim diagnosed with HIV specialized treatment at a state healthcare facility. DGMM allocated 1.05 million lira ($198,860) for anti-trafficking efforts and separately allocated 4.75 million lira ($899,110) to international organizations working on migration, which included a trafficking component, compared to 3.51 million lira ($664,210) in 2017; it did not provide funding to domestic NGOs. DGMM operated two specialized shelters for victims of trafficking. One-hundred-two MOFLSS-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 provided specialized and comprehensive victim support services to all trafficking victims which included psychological support, health care, access to legal aid, and vocational training for female sex trafficking victims. The DGMM-run shelters and MOFLSS-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. Government-operated Monitoring Centers for Children provided support to child victims of violence, including trafficking. The government solicited feedback from civil society on a draft handbook on victim identification for first responders and other relevant actors and observers reported improved government cooperation with civil society, but in previous years, experts and civil society actors expressed concern that the government’s victim protection efforts were not sufficiently inclusive of NGOs, including funding of independent organizations and the government’s exclusion of some NGOs from identifying and providing services to victims.
The government likely deported and inappropriately detained some trafficking victims due to inadequate identification efforts. The law entitled victims to a temporary residence permit for 30 days, which authorities could extend up to three years with the option to apply for a work permit; the government issued 82 residence permits (145 in 2017). DGMM voluntarily repatriated 52 victims with support from an international organization (193 victims in 2017). Observers reported the government consistently provided legal representation and assistance to victims. The government maintained regulation on “legal interview rooms,” which allowed victims to testify in private rooms in order to reduce re-traumatization. The government reported difficulties in encouraging foreign victims to cooperate in prosecutions as most preferred immediate voluntarily repatriation; 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. Regulation entitled victims to one-time compensation but it did not define the amount or procedures to access it.