Prostitute patrons fight sex trafficking in Turkey

A hotline for women sold into sexual slavery draws a surprising number of calls from men

By Hillary Frey

Published December 28, 2005 7:46PM (EST)

The Independent has an interesting story today about the latest front in fighting sex trafficking in Turkey: brothel customers.

In May, the UN Organization for Migration set up a hotline, staffed by multilingual operators, for women who have been forced into sexual slavery to call for help. But rather than hearing from desperate women, the operators are hearing from men -- Turkish men, who want to pay for willing prostitutes rather than reluctant ones. In fact, 74% of calls to the hotline have been from men; and in the past six months, more than 100 women have been rescued, and Turkish police have broken up 10 sex trafficking rings.

"I've been very surprised," Marielle Lindstrom, head of the IOM in Turkey, told the Independent. "We haven't noticed this anywhere in Europe. Turkish men seem to have an old-fashioned view of women. They don't mind using prostitutes, but they want the woman to be doing this willingly. If she's found not to be doing it willinglyit affects their pride."

Hillary Frey

Hillary Frey is the Books editor at Salon.

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