500 sex workers retire after winning battle against employers in Turkey’s west
İZMİRA total of 500 sex workers have gained the right to retire after victory in a struggle against their employers over their social security rights in the western province of İzmir.
Turkey’s Social Security Institution (SGK) determined that the premiums of a total of 1,800 sex workers working in state brothels had not been paid, daily Habertürk reported on Nov. 8.
A number of prostitutes have applied to the SGK, saying their premiums were not paid by their employers, which negatively affected their plans to retire. The prostitutes, many of whom are at retirement age, petitioned the SGK, demanding their right to retire.
SGK authorities investigated the premiums of the sex workers and determined that their social security was not sufficient enough to retire. After the decision, the women spoke to their employers and asked for their missing premiums to be paid.
After receiving a negative response, they decided to launch a campaign to gain their rights afterwards.
The İzmir Bar’s Women’s Rights Center took up the case after being asked to do so by one of the workers involved. Following research, the center applied to the İzmir Governor’s Office’s Human Rights Institution and forced them to form a “sub-commission to determine and investigate the rights violations against the sex workers working in brothels.” Members of the commission subsequently visited the brothels in İzmir and prepared a report later to be sent to the SGK.
The SGK’s İzmir provincial directorate assigned superintendents to look into the claims of the bar and determined that 23 employers had failed to sufficiently pay the premiums of their employees, failed to regularly give them their salaries and failed to give them personal rights.
The investigations revealed that the premiums of 1,800 women who had been working in the brothels for seven years had not been paid in total.
The SGK imposed a fine on the relevant employers and forced them to pay the missing premium. As a result, a total of 501 women gained the right to retire while another 1,299 sex workers gained their right to enjoy premiums.