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State Department: KD Meets Minimum Standards to Eliminate Human Trafficking

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    The State Department notes that the DC's efforts included the conviction of more traffickers and, for the first time, the conviction of an offender for “receiving services from a trafficking victim”< /p>

    “The Government of the Republic of Cyprus fully meets the minimum standards for the elimination of human trafficking,” the State Department says in its annual report on human trafficking, noting that the country “continued to make serious and sustained efforts” during the period the report was conducted and, as a result, remained in the Tier 1.

    The State Department adds that the above CC efforts included the conviction of more traffickers and, for the first time, the conviction of an offender for “receiving services from a trafficking victim”.< /p>

    It is noted that Tier 1, in which the Republic of Cyprus is located, concerns, according to the USA, standard countries, which are not necessarily free from human trafficking, but are considered to be fully aligned with the law for the protection of victims of trafficking, but also to eliminate it. Along with Cyprus, there are 29 other countries in Tier 1, including France, the United Kingdom, the USA, Canada and Germany.

    According to the US Department of State, the government of the Republic of Cyprus during the reporting period slightly increased prevention efforts, adding that the Multidisciplinary Coordinating Group (MCG) to combat human trafficking, which is made up of relevant government agencies and NGOs, implemented and monitored anti-trafficking efforts and met three times (twice in 2022).

    “The government drafted and approved the National Action Plan 2023-2026 and the Multidisciplinary Coordination Group continued to conduct awareness campaigns targeting victims and potential victims through pamphlets and posters written in 10 languages,” the report states.

    At the same time, the US State Department's report gives a completely different picture of the occupied territories, which it refers to as “Turkish Cypriot-administered territory”.

    According to the State Department, “the northern region of Cyprus is administered by Turkish Cypriots, who in 1983 declared the region an independent 'Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus' (TRNC), which the United States does not recognize, nor does any other country except Turkey”.

    “In March 2020, the “Parliament” amended the “TRNC Criminal Code” to include human trafficking. Turkish Cypriot representatives did not investigate, prosecute, or convict any traffickers in 2023. Turkish Cypriot representatives did not identify any victims of trafficking and did not provide protection to victims, including housing, psychosocial support, and financial or legal assistance. Turkish Cypriot representatives did not allocate funding or implement prevention efforts to combat human trafficking,” the State Department notes.

    It also adds that “Turkish Cypriot representatives confiscated passports of foreign women working in nightclubs and issued them with nightclub reception visas upon entering the Turkish Cypriot-controlled area. Turkish Cypriot representatives also did not allow the women to change employers even once under the nightclub contract and regularly deported victims who expressed dissatisfaction with their treatment.”

    “Total Turkish Cypriots > representatives deported 805 womenafter they limited their contracts. The “law” prohibited living off the earnings of “prostitution” or encouraging “prostitution”, but nightclub bodyguards accompanied female nightclub workers to their weekly health checks for sexually transmitted infections, ensuring the women did not share details about possible exploitation in paid sex with the police or with doctors so they can continue the illegal activity,” it then says, adding that “Turkish Cypriot representatives issued 1,038 six-month 'work permits' for this purpose in 2022 and reported that the license holders came from Belarus, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Morocco, Russia, Tajikistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.”

    It is further added that “the Turkish Cypriot representatives did not have a National Action Plan and did not conduct awareness campaigns or research on human trafficking, did not enforce labor 'laws', while making little effort to investigate employers and recruitment agencies that charge recruitment fees, which they confiscated passports or withheld wages, which are common practices.”

    “For the past five years, traffickers have been exploiting domestic and foreign victims in the Turkish Cypriot-administered region. Traffickers exploit women from Central Asia, Eastern Europe and Africa for trafficking in nightclubs that are licensed and regulated by Turkish Cypriot agents,” the report points out.

    The 2024 report on human trafficking in 188 countries was presented by US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken.

    “This is a comprehensive, objective assessment of the state of anti-trafficking efforts in 188 countries and territories, including the United States. For more than two decades, this report has documented emerging trends, highlighted areas of progress and regression, and identified effective initiatives to combat human trafficking,” he noted.

    Source: cyprustimes.com

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