U.S. Department of State 2004 Trafficking in Persons Report - Cyprus
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Author||Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons|
|Publication Date||14 June 2004|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2004 Trafficking in Persons Report - Cyprus, 14 June 2004, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4680d8083.html [accessed 14 March 2014]|
Cyprus1 (Tier 2 Watch List)
Cyprus is a destination country for women trafficked from Eastern Europe, primarily Ukraine, Romania, Moldova, Russia, Belarus, and Bulgaria for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Traffickers who forced women into prostitution generally recruited their victims to work as dancers in cabarets and nightclubs on short-term "artiste" visas, for work in pubs and bars on employment visas, or for illegal work on tourist visas.
The Government of Cyprus does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Cyprus is included in this year's report due to evidence of significant trafficking from source countries, advocates in Cyprus and the Ombudswoman's 2003 trafficking report. Cyprus is on Tier 2 Watch List because its efforts against trafficking are based largely on the government's commitments to implement the Ombudswoman's recommendations in the near future. The government's efforts were underway at the close of the reporting period. The government should focus specifically on understanding the nature of the problem better and developing a partnership with NGOs to improve victim identification and support.
Cyprus' comprehensive anti-trafficking law prohibits trafficking in women and children across international borders for the purposes of sexual exploitation and prescribes punishment of up to 20 years' imprisonment. The law is gender-specific and does not address internal or labor trafficking. Officials pursued isolated cases of trafficking under forced prostitution and related crimes. In March, Cypriot courts convicted four individuals of forcing women into prostitution. Late in the reporting period, Cypriot police established the Office of Trafficking and Cyber-crime and the Human Trafficking Prevention Unit. Neither entity had sufficient time to measure successful results. In December, the government signed a legal cooperation agreement with Bulgaria dealing with international crime and trafficking.
Anti-trafficking legislation provides protections for women and child trafficking victims, but such protections have rarely been mobilized. Anti-trafficking legislation designates the head of the Welfare Department as the "Guardian of Victims," but the government did not identify specific resources for trafficking victims. During the reporting period, three victims were referred to the Welfare Department, and were offered general assistance. Like other foreign workers, "artistes" are required to undergo a medical exam upon arrival and renewal of their visas, but "artistes" must additionally be tested for sexually transmitted diseases. Towards the end of 2003, police began bringing "artistes" to district police stations for personal interviews without employers present, and they increased checks on cabarets. Such efforts were intended to expand opportunities to this vulnerable group to file complaints that would enable police to initiate investigations. The law provides victims the right to seek compensation, shelter and medical care, as well as to change employers or have a guardian appointed.
In an attempt to prevent the exploitation of "artistes," the government gave arriving "artistes" information sheets, available in several languages, explaining their rights and obligations and providing emergency information, but it had no anti-trafficking programs targeting other vulnerable groups, nor the public at large. The Ombudswoman's report generated brief media attention and some ongoing inter-ministerial dialogue. The Attorney General's office coordinated the work of the anti-trafficking Group of Experts, which included representatives from relevant ministries, police and NGOs. The Group of Experts was formulating a national strategy for official approval during the reporting period.
1 The Republic of Cyprus exercises control over the southern two-thirds of the island. The northern part is ruled by a Turkish Cypriot administration that has proclaimed itself the "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus" ("TRNC"), and is not recognized by the United States or any other country except Turkey.