Two women who were arrested in a suspected sex trafficking bust in Limassol have turned out to be high-end prostitutes, with cops filing charges against them including running an illegal brothel.
Ten days ago two women aged 47 and 44, a Russian and a Moldovan national, were detained by police during a raid where officers said they suspected the women to be possible trafficking victims.
Following days of surveillance and a sting operation with undercover cops posing as male clients, police raided the apartment and confiscated €6000 in cash, a number of condoms, various lubricants, and sex toys. Reports also said cops found a small quantity of white powder, believed to be drugs.
Prostitution in Cyprus is unregulated, meaning that women legally prostituting themselves could end up in prison for violating anti-brothel laws
Media reports said one of the women was hiding out in the balcony of the apartment during the raid, while both women were taken to the police station and later transferred to the Nicosia safe house for trafficking victims. Officer at the police station initially suspected human trafficking was involved as they saw indications the women might not have been working alone.
But officers later determined the women were not victims and plan to charge them with illegally running a brothel and making illegal gains.
According to media reports, officers from the Crime Prevention Unit had spotted a suspicious personal ad online and kept the apartment in the southern town under surveillance. Despite initial reports saying the women were possibly trafficking victims, cops said it later turned out that the women were high-end pros with extended Black Books of clients.
While prostitution is not illegal in the Republic of Cyprus, trafficking, pimping and public soliciting for sex are offences punishable by law.
But prostitution in Cyprus is also not regulated, meaning that those who can otherwise legally make a living by prostituting themselves could end up in prison by violating laws that ban the organisation and running of a brothel.