Last year, 42 trafficking victims were identified in Cyprus, according to a report released on Friday by the NGO ‘Cyprus Stop Trafficking’.
Out of the 42 official cases, 17 related to sex trafficking, 20 to labour trafficking while five people were involved in sham marriages.
At a news conference on Friday, interior ministry permanent secretary Constantinos Nicolaides said that 2014 was the first time that three convictions on trafficking had been secured.
“Putting a stop to this heinous crime is one of our top priorities at the interior ministry. These convictions give us hope that trafficking will be eliminated,” he said.
Nicolaides also noted that according to new legislation passed in 2014, acquiring services from a trafficked person – provided that there was reasonable suspicion that the person was indeed a trafficking victim – was also considered a crime.
The new legislation, he said, also provided a security net for the trafficking victim ensuring that they had access to medical services including psychological treatment, housing and education.
It also provides for a victim support fund financed through the fines collected from court decisions, charity events and sponsorships.
“We hope that by collaborating, the authorities and NGOs will be able to tackle this problem as best as we can,” he said.