Cyprus issues leaflet to protect alien artistes
Nicosia, Mar 2 (CNA) - The Cypriot government has published an informative leaflet for women, nationals of third countries, who enter the Republic of Cyprus for employment as artistes in entertainment places, namely cabarets.
Presenting the leaflet at a press conference today, Permanent Secretary of the Cypriot Ministry of the Interior Lazaros Savvides said the government has decided to publicise the measures it has always been taking to prevent the sexual exploitation of foreign women, after a US State Department report on the human rights situation on the island.
The leaflet, which was prepared by the Civil Registry and Migration Department in cooperation with the Cyprus Gender Equality Observatory in the wider context of the government's action plan to tackle the trafficking of persons, has been issued in English, Russian, Romanian and Bulgarian, and contains information on entering, living in and working on the island, the aliens' obligations and rights, as well as the employers' obligations.
Savvides told the press that during the year 2004, there had been 91 reports before the Police concerning 194 persons who had been charged with sexual exploitation and trafficking of persons, of which 62% were Cypriots and 38% foreigners.
He added that the government has submitted a relevant report on the situation in Cyprus to the US Embassy in Nicosia, to be conveyed to the State Department, which the government is certain it will convince that the US position on Cyprus regarding sexual exploitation is totally incorrect.
''Although the State Department report startled us regarding the categorisation of Cyprus, it spurred us to explicitly present our efforts and decisions,'' Savvides said, adding that it appears there was insufficient promotion of the various measures taken to deal with the situation.
The leaflet explains the obligations and rights of the alien woman on arrival in the Republic, as well as during and on termination of employment, and the obligations and rights of her employer.
Special reference is made to cases of sexual exploitation and the procedures to be followed if such a case arises.
The leaflet also includes the contact numbers and addresses of the Welfare Services, the Aliens and Migration Service of the Police, the Ombudsman and non-governmental organisations, which the victims can turn to for assistance.
Savvides expressed certainty that the leaflet will provide the alien women with ''a serious weapon to tackle exploitation, coercion and blackmail from any employer or entertainment place patron.''