Prostitution in Turkey

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Sex work in Turkey is legal and regulated. Brothels are also legal. However, many local governments now have a policy of not issuing new registrations, and in some cities, such as Ankara and Bursa, brothels have been demolished by court order.[1][2]

Legal status[edit]

Sex work in Turkey is regulated under article 227 of the Turkish Penal Code (Law No. 5237). [3] Promoting sex work is punishable by two months to four years imprisonment. The passport law [4] forbids entry to Turkey for the purposes of sex work.

Brothels (Genelev) are legal and licensed under health laws dealing with sexually transmitted infections.[5] Women need to be registered and acquire an ID card stating the dates of their health checks. It is mandatory for registered prostitutes to undergo regular health checks for sexually transmitted diseases. The police are allowed to check the authenticity of registered prostitutes to determine whether they have been examined properly and to ensure they see the health authorities if they don't. However men cannot register under this regulation. Most sex workers, however, are unregistered, as local governments have made it policy not to issue new registrations.[6][7]

Other regulations affecting sex workers in Turkey include the Misdemeanor Law, article 32.[8] However the application of this law has been quite controversial.[9] In some cities, such as Ankara and Bursa, brothels have been demolished by court order.[10][11]

Illegal prostitution[edit]

Illegal sex work is classified as operating a brothel without being licensed, being a prostitute without having health checkups, being a prostitute without having a license, or being a sex worker without being registered. Operating of illegal prostitution is punishable with a maximum of 1 year imprisonment.

Strip clubs[edit]

Strip clubs are also present in current Turkey. Strip clubs must also be licensed and strippers must be registered and have regular health checkups. All persons entering strip clubs must be at least 18 years old.

Sex worker's rights[edit]

In 2008, activists and sex workers in Turkey announced they were working on a project to establish Turkey’s first sex workers union.[12][13]


Ankara Chamber of Commerce (ATO) report(2004)[14]
Item Census data
The number of prostitutes 100,000
prostitutes are registered in 56 brothels operating 3,000
prostitutes registered with the police 15,000
women waiting to get licenses 30,000
age of prostitution between 15 and 40
annual turnover $3–4 billion

Human trafficking[edit]

Turkey is a top destination for victims of human trafficking in relation to the sex trade, according to a report produced by the UNDOC.[15] Source countries for identified victims of trafficking in 2008 included Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Armenia, Moldova, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Romania, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Indonesia. Notably, Russian organized crime syndicates engage in trafficking of women for prostitution, and Russian and Ukrainian women have turned up in many European countries, including Turkey.[16] According to reports appearing in 2006, the country was quickly becoming one of the largest markets for sex slaves from former Soviet states: "Around 5,000 women, more than half from Moldova and Ukraine, are believed to be working as sex slaves across Turkey."[17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ankara genelevinde yıkım sürüyor. T24 Sept. 24, 2010
  2. ^ Kamulaştırılan genelevlerde yıkım. Posta Sept 24 2010
  3. ^ Turkish Penal Code (Türk Ceza Kanunu)
  4. ^ Passport Law, No. 5682 (Pasaport Kanunu)
  5. ^ GENEL KADINLAR VE GENELEVLERİN TABİ OLACAKLARI HÜKÜMLER VE FUHUŞ YÜZÜNDEN BULAŞAN ZÜHREVİ HASTALIKLARLA MÜCADELE TÜZÜĞÜ: Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Turkey. (General Regulations regarding Brothels and Prostitution and the Fight Against Venereal Disease) No: 30/03/1961 - 5/984
  6. ^ US State Department Human Rights Reports: Turkey 2002
  7. ^ Turkey's sex trade entraps Slavic women. New York Times June 27 2005
  8. ^ Kabahatler Kanunu No 5326. Ministry of Justice
  9. ^ Yolda bekleyenin amacı fuhuş mu, kim bilecek? NTVMSNBC July 1 2007
  10. ^ Ankara genelevinde yıkım sürüyor. T24 Sept. 24, 2010
  11. ^ Kamulaştırılan genelevlerde yıkım. Posta Sept 24 2010
  12. ^ Sevim Songün (Nov 8, 2008). "Turkey's sex workers seek to establish a union". Hurriyet Daily News. Retrieved 2009-03-04. 
  13. ^ ICRSE: Sex Workers in Turkey seek to establish union. July 6 2009
  14. ^ "Prostitutes total 100,000 in Turkey, ATO says". hurriyet. Retrieved 2009-03-04. 
  15. ^ "UN highlights human trafficking". BBC News. 2007-03-26. Retrieved 2010-05-22. 
  16. ^ Kyle, David; Rey Koslowski (2001). Global human smuggling: comparative perspectives. JHU Press. p. 177. ISBN 978-0-8018-6590-9. Retrieved 13 July 2010. 
  17. ^ Zaman, Amberin (31 January 2006). "Sex slave trade is burgeoning in Turkey, report says". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 13 July 2010.