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21 June, 2024
 
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Cops boost sex trafficking ops days after Limassol murder

Links to murdered prostitute not clear as police identify possible trafficking victim during hotel raid in Limassol

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Cyprus Police arrested a man in Limassol on Tuesday during a sex trafficking operation, but officials declined to comment whether the investigation was linked to the murder of an unnamed woman from Ukraine over the weekend.

Police said a 28-year-old man was detained on Tuesday in connection with an investigation into possible human trafficking for sexual exploitation. A local judge on Wednesday ordered the suspect in remanded custody for six days.

The arrest took place in a Limassol hotel, where the operation was carried out following suspicions about a possible sex trafficking victim.

A 29-year-old woman was identified as a possible trafficking victim during the operation, which came days after an online platform for sex rendezvous dominated the news following the murder of a woman who worked as a prostitute.

A woman was identified as a possible trafficking victim during the operation, which came days after a website for sex rendezvous dominated the news following the murder of a prostitute in Limassol

But police declined to say whether the operation was linked to a murder investigation also in Limassol, where a woman from Ukraine was found dead in her hotel apartment over the weekend.

Investigators are looking for a 25-year-old Kurdish man believed to have had a sex appointment with the murdered victim, with reports saying a holster bag and a wrist watch pictured on a profile photo used to book the session were the same items found in the apartment.

Another woman from Ukraine, who was described as a friend and a key witness in the murder case, has also been detained on pandering charges.

A police official told Knews on Wednesday there was no information to suggest the cases were linked.

The identity of the murdered victim, officially said to be 30 but her age was later revised to 35 in statements to the media, has not been released to the public, with police saying her family abroad and had not yet been notified.

While prostitution is not illegal in the Republic of Cyprus, the sex industry remains unregulated, with critics saying lack of regulation is dangerous for sex workers who often rely on abusive illegal networks.

A local law still on the books also bans red light district zoning while it makes it unlawful to operate or work in a brothel.

While a cathouse used by one prostitute is not considered a brothel, the legal definition can be challenged in court cases where both sex workers and trafficking victims may offer services in hotels.

TAGS
Cyprus  |  Limassol  |  sex trafficking  |  Ukraine  |  prostitution  |  exploitation  |  crime  |  murder

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