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Cyprus a destination country for women subjected to trafficking

05 March, 2014

Cyprus is a destination country for women who are subjected to trafficking for purposes of sexual exploitation, Interior Minister Socrates Hasikos has said, addressing a conference against women trafficking in Nicosia.

“Trafficking of women and girls is a crime and one of the worst forms of violence against women. We will continue to address the problem and work even harder to find the most appropriate and effective solutions to eliminate it completely,” the Minister stressed.

Referring to the measures taken in Cyprus to address the problem, the Interior Minister said the Government has adopted the new National Action Plan 2013-2015, which was approved by the Cabinet last April. A nationwide radio campaign followed this to inform the public at large.

He also said that the Parliament is to vote a new bill which transposes into national law the EU Anti-Trafficking Directive 2011/36/EE and provides for the criminalization of the use of services offered by trafficking victims.

The Cyprus Republic has created a Coordinating Group against Human Trafficking, involving all relevant ministries and departments, and four Non-Governmental Organizations. The Government has also reviewed various aspects of its immigration policy to contribute to the fight against women trafficking for sexual exploitation, with most important measure, the abolition of a visa, granted in the past for what has been described as “artistes”.

“The objective of this policy is to safeguard the real artistic status of workers and to minimize the likelihood of seeing such persons being exploited or becoming victims of trafficking", said the Minister, pointing out that since the introduction of the new policy, the number of women working in night clubs and cabarets has been drastically reduced.

The Interior Minister also referred to the creation since 2007 of the National Women`s Shelter for Victims of Human Trafficking for Sexual Exploitation, under the responsibility of Social Welfare Services.