Sex workers stage protest to keep brothel alive in Istanbul
ISTANBUL - Doğan News Agency
DHA photoSex workers employed at a brothel in Karaköy district of Istanbul staged a protest earlier today against a temporary, 15-day closure of six brothels in the neighborhood.
Undercover, civilian police claimed sex workers at the brothels in question illegally advertised and called to customers in ways that are not permitted, which resulted in their temporary closure as a penalty.
“The government has started closing our work places [brothels] in an arbitrary way, without showing us any alternatives. This will push us to work informally without control,” the protesters said in a statement issued to the press.
Protesters hailed illegal prostitution as a significant problem. “The government stopped issuing new certificates for prostitution in 2002. Some 100,000 women work illegally on the streets,” said Şevval Kılıç, a founder of a sex workers’ rights association.
“The government thinks it will stop prostitution by closing the brothels, but this is an illusion. This will only lead these women to work in unprotected conditions,” Kılıç said.
“[According to a recent regulation,] if a brothel is penalized twice in one year the government can close it permanently,” Kılıç said.
Protesters claimed the motive behind the brothels’ closure was economic, a means of attempting to prepare the grounds for the Galataport project.
The Galataport project includes the construction and 49-year operation of hotels, shopping malls, cinemas and entertainment centers in the Karaköy-Salıpazarı quarter.