Cyprus’ state prosecution service said Friday that the decision of the Criminal Court to jail a man who received services of a sexual nature from a victim of human trafficking was a legal milestone.
“This is the first time that a ‘client’ has been convicted by a Cypriot Court,” said Cyprus’ Legal Services on Friday.
“The convicted person was sentenced today to concurrent prison sentences of 2.5 years and three years since he was also found guilty and sentenced for the crime of rape.”
According to the evidence in court, the woman trafficked had been underaged when her ordeal began.
The person responsible for trafficking the woman was also on trial in the same case, with the Nicosia criminal court sentencing him to two concurrent sentences of five and six years in prison.
He was convicted of trafficking the girl as a minor and an adult for sexual exploitation, financial violence, withholding personal documents, pimping, threatening violence, and common assault.
The prosecution services said this was also the first time a Cypriot court had convicted a person for “trafficking a minor, with the purpose of sexual exploitation”.
A third individual involved in the case was given a four-month prison term for the crime of common assault.
It said the woman’s ordeal began when she was still underaged, without revealing how old she was when the traffickers had started exploiting her or her nationality.
“The woman’s trafficker deprived her of the necessary means of living, pushing her towards prostitution.”
The ‘client’, as the prosecution services called him, was convicted of rape as the woman said she was forced to have unprotected intercourse with him.
“While the trafficking victim initially provided consensual sex services, in the process, these services ended up being non-consensual since it was clear from the complainant that she did not consent to unprotected vaginal intercourse,” said Legal Services.
Hundreds of trafficking cases are reported annually, but very few go to court.
According to the recent US State Department 2022 report on human trafficking, women from Eastern Europe, South and Southeast Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa are subjected to sex trafficking by traffickers operating in Cyprus.
It said Cypriot authorities convicted seven traffickers (two for sex trafficking and five for labour trafficking) last year, a decrease compared with 10 traffickers in 2021 and no convictions from 2018 to 2020.