Police chief Stelios Papatheodorou revealed on Tuesday that nine convictions and the identification of 40 exploitation victims were recorded in Cyprus last year in relation to human trafficking and workplace exploitation.

Papatheodorou’s statements came during a training event organised by the Cyprus police, the police academy, and the European Labour Authority at a hotel in Larnaca.

“The efforts of the Cypriot police in investigating such cases and bringing suspects to court are well-known,” Papatheodorou said.

“Last year and this year, we had nine convictions and the identification of 40 such exploitation victims. This is why the United States has upgraded the Republic of Cyprus to Category 1 concerning the handling of such cases.”

Papatheodorou also added that a team dedicated to handling information or cases involving either Israeli or Palestinian nationals has been established by the police since the start of the war.

“Since the start of the war in Israel and Gaza, the police have proceeded with the formation of a team that handles both information and any other issues arising in connection with incidents involving either Israelis or Palestinians,” he said.

Papatheodorou explained that the purpose of the newly established team is to have a better understanding of what is happening and to better address such cases.

“The team also monitors other smaller cases related to this specific issue, which are examined by the regional anti-trafficking units,” he added.

He then gratitude to the justice and labour ministries, as well as to the Legal Service for their collaborative efforts.

Law enforcement officials and labour inspectors from European countries are participating in the training. Key figures from Spain, France, Greece, the Netherlands, and the Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA), Europol are also contributing to the programme.