Sexual abuse against children is increasing in Turkey

The number of child abuse victims in Turkey has increased 33 percent in the last four years and increased human trafficking has led to a rise in child prostitution according to a recent study on child abuse, Milliyet newspaper reported on Sunday.

More than 21,000 children were referred to Child Monitoring Centers in Turkey between January 2011 and May 2016, 85 percent of them girls. According to the report, prepared by Oğuz Polat from Acıbadem University, between 2016 - 2017 2,487 female and 124 male children aged under 11 were victims of sexual violence. Among older children, aged between 12 and 14, abuse victims numbered 3,688 girls and 563 boys.

Polat told Milliyet that Syrian refugee girls were being sold to older man in return for a dowry. “In Turkey, human trafficking and consequently child abductions and child prostitution have been increasing. The data on child abuse is quite limited. There is no data available for some cases,” Polat said.

He added that organised human trafficking was one of those cases and as a result it was difficult to access data on Syrian child abuse victims. 

In January 2018, news reports on child pregnancies sparked outrage, largely reflected in social media, in Turkey. According to reports, 115 girls, including 39 from Syria were treated in a single hospital in Istanbul in less than five months.