Thirteen people received sentences ranging from nine months to three years by the Limassol district court on Wednesday after being found guilty of human trafficking and sexual exploitation, and for living off the earnings of prostitution.
The defendants, 11 men and two women, were linked to a case reported in 2009 by three women from Morocco who said that they were recruited to work as cabaret dancers in Cyprus but were forced to have sexual relations with clients.
The biggest sentence was handed down to a woman who owns a cabaret in Limassol. The court heard she was the one giving the orders and was also passing the women around to cabarets in other towns.
The court ruled that the defendants treated the plaintiffs as “objects of exploitation, to secure monetary benefits with total disregard for the consequences of their actions”.
It was also said that the nature of the offences and the manner in which they were executed, constituted a very serious case that warranted a deterrent.
The court rejected the suggestions of defence lawyers that the sentences be suspended, saying it was not justified. The mitigating circumstances were flimsy and the defendants had shown no remorse, the court said.
Before announcing the sentences, the court said it took into consideration, the age of the defendants, their clean criminal records, their personal circumstances, the health problems some of them faced and the fact that none were involved with the activities of the cabarets in question between the time of commission of the offences and the trial.