A memorandum of cooperation covering the referral, handling, and protection of potential and recognised victims of human trafficking was signed on Monday between the ministry of justice and that of social welfare.
The memorandum, signed by Justice Minister Stephie Dracou and deputy minister for social welfare Anastasia Anthousis, is part of the government’s efforts to combat human trafficking as well as to protect victims.
The Memorandum signed and promotes the cooperation of the police and social welfare services, a ministry statement said. At the same time, it strengthens the framework for the protection and support of victims, the vast majority of whom are women, it added.
The responsibilities and obligations of the two services regarding the referral and information of victims of human trafficking are clearly outlined in the memorandum. It also includes special provisions for the treatment of minor victims of human trafficking.
“By signing the Memorandum, we are simultaneously sending the loud message of zero tolerance to a serious form of crime such as human trafficking,” the two ministries said. “Lately we have intensified and systematised the efforts made resulting in the last six months to have four convictions based on strict legislation to combat trafficking.”
The imposition of severe penalties, they said, acts as a deterrent to the commission of similar offences by other persons.
However, in addition to preventing and fighting human trafficking, they also need support and protection, and the implementation of this memorandum will make a major contribution in this direction, they added.