A report by Turkish newspaper Haber Turk says that income from tourism is TL 780 million annually and it estimates that some TL 23 million of this comes from prostitution.
The majority of the prostitutes come from Moldovia, Ukraine and Russia. It is estimated that there are some 500 of them working in the 40 TRNC nightclubs. Various NGO’s have testified that these women are lured over with promises of getting rich quick.
The paper interviewed Dr Arif Albayrak, a CTP Member of Parliament and gynaecologist who said that the prostitution industry had grown rapidly. He estimates that the nightclubs pay the state some TL20 million annually. Because of this the government ignores the risks posed by the rapid spread of HIV which Dr Albayrak claims is now more widespread in the North than the South.
Although prostitution is illegal in the TRNC, Dr Albayrak claims that the government ignores the protests of NGO’s and women’s rights organisations. Occasionally they will have a showpiece raid by the police but that is all.