Turkey issues comprehensive new regulation against human smuggling

Turkey issues comprehensive new regulation against human smuggling

ANKARA – Anadolu Agency
Turkey issues comprehensive new regulation against human smuggling

AP photo

Turkey has officially put into effect a new regulation against human trafficking, as part of measures to try to stem the flow of refugees heading to Europe through illegal means.

The regulation, prepared by the Interior Ministry and published in the Official Gazette on March 17, aims to designate principles and procedures to prevent human trafficking, as well as issue residency permits to some foreign victims and provide support services.

The regulation has been prepared in line with the Council of Europe’s “Action Plan against Migrant Smuggling,” targeting Turkish and foreign victims of human trafficking.

As part of the regulation, a commission will be formed to conduct work on creating policies and strategies for fighting and preventing illegal trafficking, and to prepare an action plan and maintain coordination between public institutions, international institutions, and NGOs.

The commission, which will include representatives from the Supreme Court of Appeals, the Justice Ministry, the Labor Ministry, the National Intelligence Organization (MİT), the Coast Guard Command, and the Turkish Bar Association, will assemble in February each year.

Emergency call centers and report lines will also be operated by the Directorate General of Migration Management, a body under the Interior Ministry. Regarding notices issued via these centers and lines, actions will be taken within the law of criminal procedure. The personal information shared by these centers and lines will not be shared with institutions other than those authorized to take action, according to the regulation.

People who are suspected of being victims of human trafficking will be identified as victims without waiting for the outcome of an investigation or prosecution. If necessary, victims in the process of being identified will be provided with psychosocial support. 

Governor’s offices will also provide a-month-long residency permits to foreigners who are suspected of being victims in order to help them recover from the trauma and to let them determine whether they want to cooperate with officials. If the victims demand to stay in Turkey after the end of their initial residence permit, they will be hosted in shelters operated by the Directorate General of Migration Management.

The shelters will be designed to serve 24/7 and will offer both physical and psychological treatment. The addresses of these shelters will be confidential and all the directorate’s and shelter’s personnel, including police officers, will be obliged to work within this confidentiality. 

The new regulation also aims to provide temporary financial support to the victims, as foreign trafficking victims will be exempted from the health service costs of all state health institutions.