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To browse Academia. Skip to main content. You're using an out-of-date version of Internet Explorer. Log In Sign Up. Sex Work in Turkey: Experiences of Transwomen. Ceylan Engin. This chapter focuses on transgender women who participate in sex work in Turkish society. Turkey presents a unique example as a predominantly Muslim society where prostitution is legal in the form of state run brothels, also known as genelevler.
In the first section, I discuss the genelev system in Turkey and how it particularly impacts transgender sex workers. I posit that, the current genelev system marginalizes transgender sex workers by only allowing biological women to work as registered sex workers. Secondly, I perform a content analysis of the experiences of transgender women, drawing from 52 previously collected interviews and testimonials.
I argue that indoor prostitution in the form of genelevler would provide a superior working environment for transgender sex workers and can alleviate some of the hazards associated with street prostitution. I also illustrate the importance of policy changes that need to be adopted by the Turkish government in order to reduce discrimination and violence experienced by transgender sex workers. Nevertheless, illegal prostitution was present during that time period in some Muslim areas of Istanbul, including Aksaray, Kadikoy, and Uskudar Sevengil, During this time, the spread of syphilis and other STDs became a major problem, and led to the establishment of the first state-regulated brothels Temel, A genelev is an indoor prostitution area where only registered unmarried women over the age of eighteen are allowed to work.
Once women are registered as sex workers, they are not allowed to seek employment outside of the sex industry without first notifying the police. The government requires registered sex workers to undergo regular health examinations. This state regulated system recognizes this work as a legitimate form of employment and provides the workers with state pensions for health care and social security Zengin, These individuals work in private escort agencies and illegal brothels, as street-walkers, and as individuals who sell sexual services from their homes.
Sex workers who operate outside the legal brothel sector are subject to criminal charges. A growing body of research recognizes the varied ways in which sex work is arranged, regulated, and experienced by workers, clients, and other third party members across time, space, and sector Weitzer, Despite this broadening outlook, the literature on sex work lacks sufficient data on the ways in which the commercial sex trade functions in Turkey.