Cyprus & World News

CYPRUS: Three police officers arrested for trafficking women

10 September, 2018

Three policemen, a driver for the Attorney General and two immigration officers, were among five arrested on Tuesday on suspicion of trafficking women for the sex trade.

According to media reports, apart from the three police officers the other two suspects arrested in connection to the case, are a pub owner and a woman.

The five face charges of conspiracy to commit a crime, assisting illegal entry into the Republic of Cyprus, bribery of a public official, people trafficking, abuse of power, sexual exploitation and accepting bribes.

The suspects were brought before a Nicosia district court for a remand hearing which will continue Wednesday morning.

According to evidence presented in court on Tuesday, the offences took place between December 2017 and August 2018 in Nicosia and Larnaca.

Police started investigating the case after a pub employee reported that the owner was forcing her and four other women into keeping customers company and forcing them into having paid sex.

Reportedly the women started working at the pub after the policemen in question facilitated their entry in to Cyprus.

The case suggests that such an operation could have only been allowed if there was corruption in high places.

Chief of Police, Zacharias Chrysostomou, admitted that the problem of corruption in the country’s police force is a chronic one, as there were gaps in the laws and procedures.

In a statement he said this is the first time since 1960 that the force is dealing with the issue in an adequate manner and that all the necessary preconditions, with the help of the government and legislators, are in place to combat corruption in the police.

Stressing that the vast majority of police officers are committed to the service and honour their oath, Chrysostomou added: “Police corruption is a world-wide phenomenon and is encountered in all law enforcement services and police forces”.

The Chief of Police called on the state to take action to combat widespread corruption.

“We should not fool ourselves, corruption is not only encountered in the police, but in all spectrums of the public sector.”