CYPRUS’ top Human trafficking officer told a Nicosia court Thursday that young sexually exploited women were terrorised and afraid after running away from a cabaret where they were being sold.
The first day of the civil case being brought by a Dominican Republic national against four men has taken since 2009 to be heard after countless adjournments.
In a criminal case against the men in 2010 the judge acquitted them, citing “unreliable witnesses” which included 15 other compatriots of the woman.
Rita Superman, head of the human trafficking unit of the police was asked by Harris Stavrakis, the lawyer representing the plaintiff if she knew the plaintiff to which she replied: “Yes of course. Through my duties I met her at a privately-run victims of sexual trafficking shelter in Limassol after receiving a call from the woman running it.”
She said the abused woman, 21-years of age at the time, had been taken into the place after running away from the Roxy cabaret in Nicosia where she worked. “This girl and three others were terrorised, frightened and in a bad psychological state when I saw them”
Superman said she had received another call on the same day, May 17, 2008, from an officer in the aliens and immigration department of the police inquiring if she knew anything about two women that had gone missing from the Roxy cabaret.
“I eventually met the girls at the victims’ shelter on May 29, the delay being due to the fact that they were in a bad psychological state and did not initially want to see the police.”
After being persuade to talk to the police, Superman and another female officer met with them.
“I spoke with them and reassured them. They said they wanted to report the people they considered were responsible for their treatment at the Roxy cabaret and statements were taken by Limassol CID on May 30. The case was subsequently investigated by Nicosia CID.”
Superman said all the women were recognised as victims of trafficking according to international norms.
Stavrakis said he would be calling three to five more witnesses.
The judge adjourned the case to Tuesday, June 14 when the defendants’ lawyer will cross examine Superman.
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 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.