Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou has said that the number of prosecutions in connection with human trafficking offences had increased, and at the same time the police have tightened their operational controls.
In 2013 the police filed charges against 34 persons, in 2014 against 50 persons, while during the first months of 2015 this number rose to 64, Nicolaou said, addressing a conference organised in Cyprus in the framework of the “Embracing” project aiming at combating human trafficking.
The minister said that Cyprus was a destination country as well as a country through which trafficking victims were transferred. The most usual types of trafficking in the Republic was trafficking for sexual exploitation and trafficking for labour exploitation.
Nicolaou stressed that the government acknowledged the gravity of the problem and had adopted a series of measures and policies aiming at preventing and combating this phenomenon as well as protecting the victims.
The minister noted that Cyprus was among the ten first countries that ratified the Council of Europe Convention for Action against Trafficking, and it amended its legal framework and voted in a law on the prevention and combating of trafficking and the protection of victims, which came into force on April 15, this year.
He referred to the establishment of a Multilateral Coordinating Group against Trafficking and the adoption by the Council of Ministers of the National Action Plan against Trafficking 2013-2015. According to Nicolaou, the police competent unit now has additional personnel.
He said police have continuous close cooperation and exchange of information with Europol and Interpol and legal cooperation with Eurojust.