(ANSAmed) - ISTANBU - There are over 100,000 women working as sex slaves in Turkey, of which half are children, a non-governmental organization has revealed in an extensive report on prostitution in the country quoted Saturday by daily Hurriyet. Up to 3,000 prostitutes work in brothels located in 55 of the 81 provinces of Turkey and 15,000 other registered prostitutes work with an official document, according to the report prepared by Sefkat-Der, a civil association founded to help marginalized segments of society. The most shocking aspect of the report, however, is that the number of women selling sex on the streets has climbed to over 100,000, half of whom are children. It stated that many underage girls from impoverished families, especially in eastern and southeastern provinces, had become victims of the "prostitution mafia." Vulnerable children who have been the victim of abuse inside their own family, orphans, and mentally challenged children are also often prey for organized crime rings. The report added that women up to the age of 60 are working in brothels. Sefkat-Der attracted media attention last spring when it filed a petition to Parliament to ask for permission to open a brothel employing males, in protest at brothels where women are employed. For Sefkat-Der and women's associations, the fact that there are more brothels in Turkey than women's shelters has long been a cause of criticism of both the state and local government. (ANSAmed).