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17 June, 2024
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Cyprus launches special unit for human trafficking victims in anti-trafficking effort

New initiative expands support services across the island to combat trafficking


The Deputy Ministry of Social Welfare in Cyprus has introduced a new unit dedicated to managing human trafficking victims. This unit operates from a shelter in Nicosia designed to aid victims of sexual exploitation but extends its services across the entire island.

In a recent presentation, Eftychios Hadjichristodoulou, the Acting Director of the Social Welfare Services, revealed that in the years 2022-2023, the Social Welfare Services (SWS) responded to 296 cases of trafficking victims, with 34 women being accommodated in the shelter during the same period. Hadjichristodoulou emphasized the challenges posed by human trafficking, describing it as a complex, organized international crime, noting the evolving methods due to the use of digital technology and the internet. The primary forms of trafficking in Cyprus are for sexual and labor exploitation, although other manifestations include forced marriages, infant and child trafficking, trafficking for begging, and involvement in criminal activities.

The newly established Unit adopts a human-centered approach to provide personalized support services for human trafficking victims. In 2022, the SWS assisted in 147 cases, delivering individual support measures to victims. In 2023, they have already handled 149 cases, with the shelter accommodating 20 victims in 2022 and 14 in 2023. The admission to the shelter is voluntary, and there is an additional shelter in Limassol to accommodate women. Male victims of trafficking are temporarily placed in separate accommodations.

Deputy Minister of Social Welfare, Marilena Evangelou, highlighted the significance of the Unit's operation, emphasizing its contribution to a comprehensive response in all aspects of addressing trafficking victims. This includes identification, reporting, support, protection measures, and facilitating the repatriation process for non-Cypriot victims who wish to return to their home countries. The introduction of this Unit is part of Cyprus's ongoing efforts to tackle human trafficking and offer support to its victims.

[Information sourced from CNA]

Cyprus  |  crime  |  trafficking

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