CYPRUS: More Needs to be Done on Human Trafficking in Cyprus

Thursday, April 7, 2011
Famagusta Gazette
Western Europe
PeaceWomen Consolidated Themes: 
Sexual and Gender-Based Violence

Minister of the Interior Neoclis Sylikiotis has insisted that progress has been made in recent years to tackle the problem of human trafficking in Cyprus but more needs to be done.

The Minister was addressing a one-day conference which opened in Nicosia entitled "the Changing Facets of Trafficking in Human Beings: Challenges and Policy Developments".

The conference is co-organized by the Representation of the European Commission in Cyprus, the Embassy of the United States of America and the British High Commission.

Sylikiotis referred to the prevention efforts made by the government of Cyprus to address the problem of human trafficking, adding that those efforts have been acknowledged on international and European level.

"But despite the progress we have achieved, we remain vigilant since we are aware that human trafficking is a crime with many faces", he underlined.

The plight of women being sold into sex slavery in Cyprus has been highlighted in recent years. Its been estimated that thousands of women come to Cyprus from poorer countries hoping for a better life and expecting jobs such as house cleaning and child care. Instead, many of them end up being forced into prostitution and enduring physical and mental abuse.

The problem was first highlighted seven years ago when a report by the Cyprus Ombudswoman claimed that more than 2,000 women passed through Cyprus annually, and were forced into prostitution in European and Arab countries.

It's thought hundreds, maybe even thousands of women are kept as prisoners unable to alert authorities to their plight.