Six sex workers were detained Friday during a police raid in Nicosia, with officers arresting one of them on prostitution-related charges.
Police officers raided a building in Nicosia Friday afternoon, a two-storey structure suspected of being used as an illegal brothel, where they found six foreign women in separate rooms with male clients.
Five of the six women were escorted to a safe house while police are trying to determine whether they have committed any offences or could be trafficking victims
Among the six prostitutes was a 57-year-old woman, whom officers identified as the madam and arrested her on multiple charges, including felony and misdemeanor conspiracy, running an illegal brothel, as well as pimping and illegal gains.
The remaining five women were briefly detained for questioning by officers including members from the trafficking unit. They were then escorted to a safe house while police are trying to determine whether they have committed any offences.
While prostitution is legal in the Republic of Cyprus, the sex industry remains unregulated with a law still on the books making the running of brothels anywhere unlawful by definition. A recent legislation proposal in parliament aims to criminalize prostitution.
Based on current legislation on the island, knowingly living off the earnings of someone else engaging in prostitution could land a person in jail for up to five years.
Police did not provide details about the operation but it was understood the downtown location had been under surveillance. An official report said officers from Criminal Investigation Department and Crime Prevention Unit took part in the raid.