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Cyprus

Russians remanded claim to have been only guarding prostitutes

Two Russian men who were caught in a Limassol flat being used as a brothel and who claim they were acting as guards for the two Ukrainian women working there, were remanded for eight days by Limassol court on Tuesday.

The two, aged 42 and 45, were arrested Monday evening when the flat was raided, while police are looking for a third suspect, a Russian woman believed to be the mastermind of the operation.

The court heard that the two men deny involvement in the case, maintaining they were simply responsible for the protection of the women, aged 24 and 28, who say they were forced into prostitution through fear and intimidation.

The two Ukrainian women, who have already been transferred to a shelter in Nicosia for victims of sexual exploitation, told police they had come to Cyprus after being told they could work on the island, offering massage services, with high earnings.

These did not materialise and instead they were forced to have sex with clients, while the money they made was taken by the suspects, who said they would pay them their share at a later stage if they continued prostituting themselves.

Police say they are seriously looking into information received pointing to the whole operation being run by a Russian woman who was not present during the raid and who they have yet to identify.

Ioannis Sotiriades of Limassol CID in presenting the suspects to the court said he was looking into a serious case involving conspiracy to commit a crime, trafficking and sexual exploitation of adults, exploitation at work, money laundering, pimping, living off the profits of prostitution and other offences relating to running a brothel.

Sotiriades told the court that according to information in the hands of the police, the flat had been rented in July and used as a house of ill repute, while pretending to offer massage services.

Police found cash at the premises which had been paid by two customers present during the raid. A number of condoms, an address book with telephone numbers, a laptop, a tablet and business card advertising massages were also taken as evidence.

Sotiriades thanked the public for giving information and cooperating with the police.

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