A man in Limassol has been sentenced to eight years in prison for pandering, after police detained him and four women during a prostitution sting in late 2020.
According to local media, a Greek national in his early 50’s was sentenced to 8 years on Friday after a Limassol court found him guilty of human trafficking, sexual exploitation, illegal earnings, and living off the earnings of a prostitute.
In November 2020, law enforcement agents in Limassol carried out an early afternoon raid at a Yermasoyia apartment complex, where officers said they found four foreign sex workers in separate apartments.
Reports said raiding officers found and confiscated a number of items during the operation, including a total of €3500 in cash, condoms, as well as notes containing names and phone numbers.
The woman had spent time in a safe house but no details were provided about the other females including whether they were renting apartments from the convicted pimp
Police declined to comment on the raid but it was understood the apartment complex had been under surveillance following an anonymous tip that pointed to a location where prostitution and alleged sex trafficking took place.
Previously police have been openly criticized for using brothel busters - undercover male cops described as “associates” who take part in active investigations, posing as customers and paying for sex with marked bills. Money used in the transaction as well as used condoms and other items would also be collected as evidence in court.
The four women in the specific case, described as European nationals, were all detained for questioning along with the male suspect, while police also said special officers were called upon to investigate possible trafficking offenses.
Reports said prosecutors won the case after one of the women was recognized by Cypriot authorities as a trafficking victim, arguing in court that she had been exploited by the male suspect who brought her to the island.
The woman had spent time in a safe house but no details were provided about the other females in the case including whether they were also renting apartments from the convicted pimp.
While prostitution in the Republic of Cyprus is not illegal, the sex industry remains unregulated with a law still on the books making the running of brothels anywhere unlawful by definition.
But legislation efforts in parliament aiming to criminalize prostitution failed to provide a clear definition of a whorehouse, while municipality bill proposals cited public interest in calling for the closure or removal of houses of ill repute.
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.