Police arrested four people during a Limassol prostitution sting on Wednesday evening and Thursday morning, while a number of women were suspected of being victims of sex trafficking.
According to media reports, a large undercover police operation took place in a number of private apartments in Yermasoyia, with two suspects, a 52-year-old Greek male and a 36-year-old Moldovan female, initially being arrested and four other women later also detained.
On Thursday morning, two more suspects were taken into custody, with cops searching 14 residences in three areas within the last 24 hours
Cops believe the four women, who were described as foreign nationals, were victims of sex trafficking, while the two initial suspects were said to be their pimps, according to police.
During the raids, a number of items were confiscated including condoms, sex toys, and cash.
On Thursday early morning, two more suspects were taken into custody, a 60-year-old Greek man and a 31-year-old woman from Ukraine, bringing the total number of house searches within the last 24 hours to 14 residences in three different locations in the southern city.
High end prostitutes were not trafficked
Last month, 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.
During the raid, officers confiscated €6000 in cash, a number of condoms, various lubricants, and sex toys.
But officers later determined the two women were not victims but high-end prostitutes, who were facing charges of illegally running a brothel and making illegal gains.
Greek madam in Nicosia sentenced
Another case involving prostitution was adjudicated last month, where a 42-year-old Greek national was sentenced to five months by a Nicosia District Court judge.
The woman was arrested back in 2014 when authorities got wind of a secret brothel operating inside her apartment in Strovolos. An undercover cop, who used marked bills to pay for oral sex with a younger female, reportedly heard the word “boss” when the girl spoke of the 42-year-old madam who was 38 at the time.
The madam, who told the court she had been a prostitute herself since the age of 22, had come from Greece about a year and half earlier. A number of females in that case had been initially identified as trafficking victims.
Prostitution in Cyprus not regulated
Cops have been stepping up efforts to combat human trafficking in recent months, following international pressure and a scandal back in the summer where police officers were arrested in an illegal prostitution ring.
While prostitution is not illegal in the Republic of Cyprus, trafficking, pimping and public soliciting for sex are offences punishable by law.
But Cyprus is one of several countries where prostitution is unregulated, meaning that sex workers legally making a living by prostituting themselves could end up in prison by violating laws that ban the organisation and running of a brothel.
Cops have also been criticised in the past for using undercover “male associates” to have sex with women before arrests are made, with officials saying strong evidence such as used condoms and marked bills are needed for evidence in a court of law.