Judicial punishment for two kids
It was four months ago when a massage parlor and several other addresses in Ankara were raided by police, rescuing minors who had been forced into prostitution.
The mother of one minor told daily Hürriyet she found her 16-year-old daughter, who had run away from home, at a massage parlor. After the mother reunited with her daughter, she accused two of her daughter’s girlfriends of dragging her daughter into prostitution and drugs. “One of them took her to the parlor, the other gave her drugs,” she said.
The above was in the news. The rest of the story is below.
After the mother filed a complaint, the two minor girls were taken to the Ankara Police Department because they were witnesses. They had only a piece of grilled cheese sandwich for the whole day. They slept in the corridor at night. The next day, the department asked for an extension of the detention. Only then did they learn that they had been detained.
After their second day at the police center, they were taken to the juvenile department, where officials said, “Why have they detained you for so long?” and handed over the children to their families.
The two girls gave their statements to the prosecutor’s office the next day. The prosecutor sent them to a criminal court of peace. The judge released the kids but put one of them on parole, meaning she is required to show up at the police station to sign three days a week. These two girls are now being tried on charges of human trafficking for the purposes of prostitution. This process is full of excessive mistakes.
The first mistake is that all the procedures of minors should be conducted by the juvenile department, the juvenile police and the prosecutor. The reason for this is to ensure the child does not encounter grown-ups, to create an environment where the child does not feel pressure and to ensure that those who are dealing with children are sensitive professionals.
According to Article 4 of the Child Protection Law, these kinds of procedures should be conducted urgently. However, in this case, these two girls were taken to the Ankara Police Department first, after all the “grown-up” procedures were finished, they were then treated as minors and because time had run out, an extension was demanded. Regardless of whether the minor is a victim, a witness or a juvenile pushed into crime, the family should absolutely be informed. In this case, the families of these two kids were not informed. This is malpractice.
The second mistake is that the rights of the suspects were violated. These rights are guaranteed under the law of criminal procedure. They should immediately be informed of their rights and a lawyer must be called. This is compulsory. This was not done, and moreover, the children were asked to appear in a lineup at night.
The third mistake is that the prosecutor ignored what the kids went through at the police station and the conditions in which they were held; instead, he or she should have immediately said: “What are the kids doing there? Take them to the juvenile department immediately.”
The fourth mistake is that the Family and Social Policies Ministry was involved in favor of the victim and thus against the two juveniles who were pushed into crime. As a matter of fact, in these kinds of files, the ministry should be the ministry of both sides because all sides are minors. All of them should be protected. But in this case, the ministry is saying, “These two girls should be punished.” As a matter of fact, the juveniles pushed into crime need rehabilitation, support and legal aid.
The worst mistake is that it authorities did not take into account the fact that those who were pushed into crime are also minors and are also victims in this process. They were deceived at a young age. This is one of the methods of human traffickers; they make them do what they want by forming sentimental relations. The manager of the massage parlor made one of the girls believe that they were lovers but at the same time “marketed” her to clients.
Now, you wouldn’t believe this but the manager and his deputy are not being tried with human trafficking; they are being sued for sexual abuse, but the minors are accused of being human traffickers.
Why are the girls who were forced into prostitution supposed to be human traffickers, but the person who personally abused one of the children and also prostituted her to clients is not?