Cyprus hosts an International Conference on Anti-Trafficking
Nicosia, Nov 19 - An International Conference on Anti-Trafficking is taking place in Cyprus between November 19 – 21. The Conference will deal with issues such as “Trafficking: International Organized Crime”, “Legal provisions and realities in connection with trafficking”, “The victims, who are they? How can they be liberated? How are they treated after their liberation?”, “Society and the Church”, and “Legal and social aspects of trafficking in Cyprus.”
Organizers of the Conference are the Anti-Trafficking Movement of Cyprus, STOP (Stop Trafficking of People) USA, ACEES, Geneva, and Friends of Humanity (FOH), Geneva.
During the opening ceremony, which took place Wednesday in Nicosia, Chief of Anti-Trafficking Unit of the Cyprus Police Rita Superman, said that Cyprus is a destination country for victims of trafficking especially for sexual exploitation.
“Cyprus is a destination country for victims of trafficking especially for sexual exploitation. Countries of origin of the victims are traditionally countries of eastern Europe, such as Moldova and the Ukraine”, she said, adding that victims now also come from other regions such as Latin America, Philippines, Morocco, and Syria.
However, she noted that in comparison to some years ago, Cyprus is now legally stronger and able to minimize the problem.
“Now we have better tools to combat this phenomenon,” she said, referring to the government’s shelter for victims of human trafficking as well as to the new legislation against human trafficking.
In his speech at the Conference, Chairman of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Human Rights, Sophoclis Fittis, said that in the last few years human trafficking in Cyprus and worldwide has been increasing.
He also made special reference to the Turkish occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus, which he described as a paradise for various illegal activities such as human trafficking.
He also hailed a new measure by the government of Cyprus to abolish artist visas.
Mr. Fittis referred to a series of actions, which have been taken by the government of Cyprus to combat the phenomenon.
Such actions are the preparation of an action plan against human trafficking and sexual exploitation, the creation of a shelter for victims, the ratification of the Council of Europe’s Convention for action against human trafficking and the preparation and ratification of a new legislation against human trafficking, which entered into force July 13th, 2007.
The Cypriot MP said that the above legislation is fully harmonized with the European acquis communautaire and the international conventions.
The House of Representatives and all other institutions involved, Mr. Fittis said, aim at protecting the society against the threats of trafficking of persons.
“Human trafficking worries us. The Cypriot society has declared a war against trafficking. And we can win this war with the contribution and support of the society,” he concluded.