Mehmet Çınar / Antalya, Aug 7 () - 20-year-old Lilaf Selim and her 19-year-old sister Nadia, who fled the war in Syria with their family four years ago, say they are forced to leave every single job they find in Turkey due to sexual harassment.
Complaining of a series of sexual harassment incidents, two Syrian sisters have claimed they had to leave every single job they have found in Turkey, where they took refuge after fleeing their war-torn homeland.
“I was hired as a waitress, hairdresser or dishwasher. Each employer initially welcomed me as a daughter, but they eventually wanted to hold hands or kiss me,” 20-year-old Lilaf Selim said, in the southern province of Antalya on Aug. 6. “Some even offered me money for a sexual relationship,” she added.
Lilaf said she and her 19-year-old sister Nadia fled the war in Syria four years ago and took refuge in Turkey.
According to their own account, the two sisters experienced over 100 instances of sexual harassment, most of them by employers and some by customers in their workplace.
“Their age ranged between 20 to 50-60. They told me that their actions would go unpunished because we are Syrians and we can’t go to police as we were unregistered immigrants,” Lilaf noted. She said she started to work as a freelance tattoo artist due her experiences at workplaces in Turkey.
“When I work at home, I don’t see any sexual harassment as my family is also here, but some customers made advances even here, offering me to visit their houses,” Lilaf added.
Harder way to buy a tattoo machine
Lilaf accused a female acquaintance of trying to push her into prostitution so she could by a tattoo machine.
According to her account, Lilaf declined the offer in shock, distanced herself from the woman and bought herself a tattoo machine by doing “clean” jobs although it was not easy to find one.
Lilaf’s sister Nadia also said she was sexually harassed when she worked for 10 Turkish Liras a day as a waitress, cleaner and dishwasher in brief periods of time. “I can’t work in one place longer due to harassment. On the bus, while walking and everywhere we confront sexual harassment when we say we are Syrians,” she claimed.
In a recent interview with the Hürriyet Daily News, U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres had called on the world to help Turkey with refugees as “things will get even worse.”
“There are 1.8 million Syrian refugees currently registered in Turkey. There may also be some unregistered ones. The overall total is more than 2 million refugees of different nationalities. That comes with a very high cost to the Turkish authorities,” Guterres said.