European Region of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association

Violent attacks on trans sex workers in Turkey

Since the beginning of May 2015, ILGA-Europe have received reports of violent attacks on trans sex workers.

Findikzade. Bagdat Boulevard. The names of just two places in Istanbul where trans women have been attacked in the past month.

Since the beginning of May 2015, ILGA-Europe have received reports of violent attacks on trans sex workers. Coverage of the issue in mainstream media or news reports remains scant so we are almost entirely dependent on our Turkish member organisations for information.

During the first weekend of May, four trans sex workers were attacked in separate incidents. These attacks were not concentrated in one area, in fact they took place in three different Turkish provinces.  The level of violence was also particularly worrying as the women targeted in these attacks were either shot or stabbed, leaving one of them in a critical condition in hospital.

On 12 May, two trans sex workers in Istanbul were attacked; one in the Findikzade district and the other at Bagdat Boulevard. Once again, the violence associated with both attacks was notable. One woman was attacked by former clients of hers at her own apartment, receiving stab wounds that resulted in her hospitalisation. Thankfully those responsible for the attack were caught later that night.The second trans sex worker attacked on the same night had her jaw broken after she was assaulted by a group of men. They have still not been reprimanded.

ILGA-Europe produced an infographic to mark Trans Day of Remembrance in 2014. The statistics collected for 20 November last year highlighted how vulnerable trans people are to hate crime and violence, often ending in tragic circumstances.  We are extremely worried about the updates we are receiving from Turkey. We are recording and reporting such incidents in our submissions to the European Commission progress reports and will support our members and trans activists in any way we can.