A woman from the Dominican Republic who appeared as witnesses in an unsuccessful sexual trafficking case brought against a cabaret owner and three others some six years ago has returned to Cyprus after registering a private prosecution against the men.
Immediately following the acquittal of the group due to the court finding the witnesses, which included some 15 other compatriots of the woman, to have been unreliable, the woman proceeded to register a private prosecution against the men she claims took advantage of her sexually.
The case was registered in 2010 but for unknown reasons has been repeatedly postponed. The woman and her lawyer though did not give up and the case is due to be begin on Thursday at Nicosia civil court.
The then 21-year old had broken down in court at the original trial after she had to recount her forced sexual encounters.
The petite witness said she had come to Cyprus to work “to serve drinks and dance” and instead she had been told that her duties included having sex with clients. Failure to do so resulted in non-payment of her salary, she had said.
The young woman had said she had beseeched her employers not to force her into having sex because she was a virgin. This fact meant she was worth more money to the cabaret because her virginity could be sold at a higher price, the court had heard.
The defendants were accused among other charges of pimping, profiting from prostitution and trafficking for sexual exploitation. Because the case was being tried in the district court and not the Assize Court, the accused faced no more than up to five years’ imprisonment. The decision to try the case in the district court was at the attorney-general’s discretion and according to legal sources this was likely because the case was not as “strong” as another similar case that was being tried in the Assize Court. In the latter trial the suspects faced up to 15 years’ imprisonment if convicted.
The four men were employed at the Sodoma cabaret in Lakatamia, Nicosia, which had since closed.
The woman had said she fled the cabaret after her employers had tried to “sell” her for sex three times. In all three instances she had refused. On the third occasion she was beaten by the client and was sexually violated before he agreed to take her back to the cabaret but without managing to have intercourse with her.
“I started to shout and cry. He hit me and told me to stop crying… I threw up and begged him to take me back,” she had said trying to compose herself as she began to cry.
Back at the cabaret she had begged her employers to let her go which they did and she was taken to Limassol where her impresario found her new employment at a Paphos cabaret.
The woman’s cross-examination was terminated before it even began because the first defendant, the one who the current case is against, who had been representing himself in the original case, had said he did not recognise the her and had to check with the immigration authorities if she had even worked for him.