Officials have been quoted as saying as many as 500 undocumented Afghan migrants try to enter Turkey every day.
Nearly 20,000 undocumented Afghan migrants have arrived in Turkey in the past week three months, an unprecedented number according to the latest figures from the Turkish General Directorate of Security, the Hürriyet Daily News reported.
The report said that a total of 17,847 undocumented Afghan migrants have been captured by security forces from the beginning of 2018 until March 29.
The same period has seen 9,426 Syrian migrants, 5,311 Pakistani migrants and 4,270 Iraqi migrants.
Nearly 500 undocumented Afghan migrants try to enter Turkey per day, which has prompted security forces to examine the case in detail, Hürriyet Daily News reported.
As part of the investigation, the Directorate of Anti-Human Trafficking has been established in the eastern province of Erzurum, a hotspot used by migrants to go to Istanbul.
According to the Hürriyet Daily News, Afghan migrants come to Turkey via Iran, through the eastern provinces of Van, Iğdır, Ağrı and Hakkari.
Security forces have discovered human traffickers prefer to bring the migrants across the borders in groups and charge them around $500 USD for each border crossing.
Human traffickers bring them, sometimes along with migrants from other nationalities, such as Pakistanis, to the mountainous areas of Turkey’s eastern border.
Those groups, including women, men and children, walk kilometers to reach Erzurum in order to go to Istanbul. To help them travel to Istanbul, human traffickers in Erzurum transport the migrants in vehicles, such as minibuses or trucks.
According to the findings of the security forces, Afghans mainly reside in so-called “safe houses” in the Kocamustafapaşa area of Istanbul, whose monthly rent is around $300 USD, Hürriyet Daily News reported.
Many of these migrants are involved in prostitution or encouraged to partake in illegal activities, such as theft or begging. After saving up money in Istanbul, many attempt to go to Europe via Greece or Bulgaria.