Six migrants are taking the Republic of Cyprus to court seeking compensation on the grounds they were trafficked and exploited by their employer, migrant support group KISA said on Tuesday.
In June last year, their employer Comet Hatcheries Ltd based Nicosia, was fined €126,000 by Nicosia district court for charges including “labour exploitation and submission to servitude using threats, as well as the charge of fraudulent theft,” according to the NGO.
The case concerned five migrants from India who were submitted “to a form of servitude” by their employers, KISA said.
The sixth individual, now also seeking compensation, is the wife of one of the five who also worked for Comet Hatcheries Ltd however as she had been pregnant at the time had been in India.
During her time with the company she had also been subject to the same work conditions, KISA said.
In August 2011, the NGO filed a complaint to police and a year and a half later the case was taken to court.
Initially, the company denied all charges however when the charges against the owner were dropped – based on health grounds – the company admitted that from July 2007 to September 2011 it forced the migrants to continue working in poultry farms across villages in Nicosia under threat that if they did not comply they would be deported, KISA said.
Money withheld from the workers totalled €6,650, which represented their payment for 10 months.
In one instance €900 was withheld from one migrant under the pretext the money would be used to extend his residence permit in Cyprus.
Despite the significance of the conviction, the NGO noted no compensation was offered to the victims.
“Precisely because of the handling of the case by the prosecution, the victims of trafficking have proceeded with a civil case against the Republic of Cyprus and the accused persons, with the view to finally receive justice,” KISA said.