Half of transgender sex workers subjected to police violence: Report
Meltem Özgenç ANKARA
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people are frequently the target of hate crimes in Turkey. DHA Photo
A report drafted by a civil rights organization has drawn a picture of the plight of transgender individuals in Turkey, finding that half of all transgender women sex workers in the country have been subjected to physical violence from police. It also states that the murder of transgender individuals in Turkey amounts to 40 percent of the total number of such killings in all of Europe.
The report, titled “Violence against Transgender Woman Sex Workers in Turkey” and produced by the “Kırmızı Şemsiye” (Red Umbrella) Sexual Health and Human Rights Association, is set to be presented to the United Nations. For the report, a total of 233 transgender sex workers were interviewed.
“Out of the 233 transgender women sex workers, 171 have been subjected to violence. Some 49.7 percent said the police had used violence against them and 31.2 percent said they had been sexually assaulted by the police, including rape,” said Kemal Ördek, the head of Kırmızı Şemsiye.
The interviews for the report were conducted in Ankara, Antalya, Bursa, Diyarbakır, Eskişehir, Gaziantep, Istanbul, İzmir, İzmit, Mersin and Sivas.
“Forty percent all transgender individuals murdered in Europe are reported to have been killed in Turkey. Among European countries, Turkey is followed by Italy, where 27 percent of the killings have been reported,” Ördek also said.
“Some 53.88 percent of interviewees said they have been victimized by sexual violence at least once in their lifetime,” he added.
Despite such frequency of sexual violence against them, 75 percent of transgender sex workers who have been victimized by sexual assault refrain from filing official complaints.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people, particularly transgender individuals, are frequently the target of hate crimes hate crimes in Turkey.
A government-led reform package, adopted by Parliament in March 2014, prohibited discrimination and hate crimes, but not on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.