Discrimination and Exploitation: Workplace Conditions and Treatment of African Asylum Seekers Residing in Kumkapı

Author/s: Ayşe Gür Geden, Yusuf Adıgüzel

DOI: 10.12738/mejrs.2016.1.1.0001

Year: 2016 Vol: 1 Number: 1


Due to its geographical position, Turkey has long been regarded by immigrants as a transit and destination country. Among these immigrants, the most noticeable, due to their skin color are the African asylum seekers. Though the majority of African asylum seekers ultimately aim to settle in Europe and other First World countries, they need to earn a living during their stay in Turkey. As this research shows, they are typically employed in various sectors of the informal economy, doing less desirable jobs, and are commonly victims of fraud and abuse. This article addresses the issues of the workplace discrimination and exploitation they face, noting racist attitudes, sexual and physical harassment, and the group’s helplessness and vulnerability. We first examine irregular and transit migration to Turkey, focusing on asylum seekers. Next, to portray Turkey’s image among them and explain their reasons for the migration from Africa to Turkey, we explore political and economic relations between Turkey and African countries. We then present and discuss the findings of the research. Finally, we offer solutions to the problems African asylum seekers face and report suggestions for improving their conditions.

Asylum seekers, Transit migration, Economic exploitation, Discrimination, Africa, Istanbul

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