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Police officers arrested in people trafficking case (updated)

Police on Tuesday arrested three of their own in connection with people trafficking and sexual exploitation following allegations they received bribes to turn a blind eye while serving at passport control at the airport and let through women who were later employed at a bar in Nicosia.

Two other people, the owner of the bar, 36, and a 33-year-old woman, a third country national, were also arrested.

The three officers, aged 38, 41 and 31, were suspended following their arrest in the early morning hours.

They were brought before court on Tuesday for a remand hearing but after a lengthy process, the judge reserved judgement for Wednesday.

Two of the officers serve at the immigration service while the other, according to reports, was recently transferred to the attorney-general’s security detail.

The offences they are accused of were committed between the end of December last year and August.
Police said they had raided the bar in August where they found six women. One appeared to be the manager.

The women were interviewed and four were recognised as victims of trafficking.

The court heard that the bar owner and the cops serving at the airport arranged for women from third countries to arrive when they were on duty so that they would let them through without any checks.

The women were employed at the bar and forced to keep customers company. They told police that the suspects had paid for their trip and kept their travel documents.

Their job was to keep customers company and if they wished, to have sex with them.

The women were paid €30 per night but €10 was withheld by the owner to be paid to them when they departed Cyprus. They were also given commission on the drinks the customers ordered.

The women lived in flats on top of the bar for which they paid €35 each per week.

They were also fined by the owner if they left the flat without informing him when they were not working. He also threatened them with extradition if they left the bar to work elsewhere.

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Source: Cyprus News Agency