Women in AFAD camps at mercy of prostitution gangs
It has been revealed that Syrian women living in Turkish state-run AFAD (Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency) refugee camps in Elbeyli and Islahiye, are being abused by prostitution gangs. Those gangs work in cahoots with camp officials.
According to the news agency Dihaber women who fled the war in Syria with their families have been placed into the refugee camps in Elbeyli and Islahiye and are now pushed into prostitution. The security guard of the refugee camp in Islahiye stated: "Children aged between 16 to 17 years in this camp are forced into prostitution. We do not know who the agents are. However the camp officials do permit them to freely enter and leave the camp. They say things like 'we will go to do some work' and they assert to need six to seven workers. Under the pretext of labour they take some women with them and after having put them through prostitution they bring these girls again back. It is each time the same procedure."
THOSE TAKEN OUT OF THE CAMP NEVER RETURN
The confessions made by the citizen Yaşar Budak once again pictures this drama of the refugees, saying that in Elbeyli district of Kilis almost each and every household has taken in a Syrian woman. He said to be married to three Syrian women himself. Budak explained that all Syrian refugee women in this town have been taken out of the camp after agreements have been forged with their families, stating: "The approval of the women does not play a role, as soon as money gets paid to their families those women will not return to the camp once again."
Budak said that for this reason Kilis has turned to an industry sector for which agents have been assigned to keep this work going. Budak explained that following a deal with those agents, camp officials are getting contacted and women are taken out of the camps together with their families as if they are being taken for a ride. Budak went on saying that either in a village near Elbeyli or in a cafeteria in the city centre of Kilis a meeting is held with the families and after reaching an agreement the young women are "sold".
FORCED PROSTITUTION AT HIGHWAYS AND PAVILIONS
Budak pointed out that camp officials keep silent in the face of these acts, saying: "If those camp officials wanted to, they could prevent these things from happening. But they are saying 'we cannot impede people's weddings' and simply ignore the whole situation. Some women might truly marry, but in most cases the wedding is a gate to prostitution. Some days ago a 15 year old child returned to her family in the camp. But the child was pregnant. After finishing their job with the kid they sent her back to her family. Countless women who are taken out of the camps on the pretext of marriages, are forced into prostitution at the edge of highways and pavilions."
A NEVER ENDING VICIOUS CYCLE
It has been confirmed that in the Turkish state's AFAD camps in Islahiye district of Antep, camp officials and prostitution gangs are working hand in hand. It is said that there are no differences between the camp in Antep and the one in Kilis. It has been affirmed that women are lead out of the camp as if taken to work on cotton plantations and are forced thereafter into prostitution at pavilions and highways. It is said that in whole Syrian women in Islahiye are forced into prostitution and a security guard of the camp who wanted to remain anonymous for his own safety gave following account: "In the camp children between 16 and 17 years are already forced into prostitution. We do not know who the agents are. But camp officials do permit them to freely enter and leave the camp. They assert to go out for work and allege to need six to seven workers. Under the pretext of labour they take some women with them and after having put them through prostitution they bring these girls again back. This cycle is repeated over and over again."
CAMP OFFICIALS ARE ALSO WELL AWARE OF THIS
The security guard said that a 16 year old girl and her 30 years old mother who live in the camp are forced into prostitution, continuing: "Those two leave the camp every day early in the morning as if going to work and only return after sunset.". The guard pointed out that women who are sexually exploited are between 15 and 30 years old, and the officials of the camps are very well aware of all of this.
The security guard stated furthermore that the refugees living in the camps are facing severe violence, with the camp officials using the most violence against the refugees. If they can not handle it alone, soldiers are added on and sometimes this aggression against refugees turn into pure torture. The guard said that the refugees want to get out of the camps due to this violence and they even rebelled some months ago protesting the aggression, but that riot of them was smashed within a short time.
WHERE ARE THE 3000 WOMEN?
Over and above all, at the beginnings up to 3000 women had been bought in the village Harran of Reyhanli district of Hatay by prostitution gangs under the name of conducting marriages, causing worldwide headlines. But even until now there are no informations whatsoever concerning the women's whereabouts. It has been reported that many persons arriving from Konya, Mersin, Adana, Istanbul and Izmir buying hundreds of women under the name of marriages. It also got known that some women who were sold on the name of marriage are exploited in prostitution pavilions in Antakya.