Experts urge Cyprus to act tougher on human trade
An experts committee of the Council of Europe urged the Cypriot government Monday to step up its fight against human trafficking, mainly for the sex trade.
Cyprus has taken numerous steps to tackle the human trade in recent years, notably by abolishing "artiste" visas for dancers -- often abused by traffickers to bring eastern European women into the country as prostitutes.
The report by the Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings welcomed the progress but added: "Cypriot authorities have so far not taken adequate measures to discourage the demand of services from trafficked persons, which is critical" in combating the scourge.
It urged the government to step up proactive investigation of potential trafficking cases in the entertainment, tourism, domestic work and agriculture sectors.
"As trafficking for the purpose of labour exploitation is reportedly on the increase, the Cypriot authorities should conceive measures to address this phenomenon, such as alerting potential migrant workers about the risks ... and stepping up police and labour inspections," it said.
The Cypriot authorities say that 113 people were identified to have been victims of human trafficking in 2009, and 52, including two children, last year.
Legal proceedings yielded 11 convictions in 2008 and two in 2009.
© 2011 AFP