Police continue to keep a tight lid on a sex trafficking investigation, with prosecutors filing a case against a male suspect after two other men have been accused of seeking services from a woman described as a possible victim.
According to an official police report, prosecutors on Wednesday filed a case with the Nicosia District Court against a 38-year-old year old male who was arrested in the course of a sex trafficking investigation carried out by CID Famagusta.
Police gave no dates or location regarding the arrest or commission of offenses but a report said “he was arrested on a prior date, at the end of last June” in connection with a case where two other men faced charges under a new law that criminalizes sex buyer behavior.
“In connection with the facts in the case, two other individuals have been criminally prosecuted for the crime of seeking services from a human trafficking victim,” the report said.
Police gave no dates or location regarding the arrest but the suspect was reportedly linked to a case where two other men faced charges under a new law that criminalizes sex buyer behavior
Police also said a 30-year-old woman, who was examined by Specially Trained Officers, has been recognized as a possible victim of human trafficking and sexual exploitation.
Police declined to comment on the case citing privacy and security reasons during an ongoing investigation.
Knews has been told CID Famagusta was leading the investigation while the anti-trafficking unit nad police headquarters were also said to have been involved in the case.
Charges include human trafficking, sexual exploitation, pimping, living from earnings of prostitution, and illegal gains.
The Republic of Cyprus has been under pressure to prosecute sex trafficking crimes after last year the US State Department downgraded the country in its Trafficking in Persons Report, citing lack of convictions despite several prosecutions in the past four years.
In 2019 Cypriot lawmakers passed a bill criminalizing the behavior of clients who pay for sex in cases where sex workers are victims of trafficking. The bill elevates the behavior of customers to an illegal act if they seek, use, or benefit from sex services offered by individuals who fall under the definition and protection of trafficking victims.
Lawmakers passed the new law unanimously while an amendment aimed at providing legal recourse to defendants a chance to prove they had no knowledge that a person was a victim of sex trafficking was defeated by 46 votes against and one.
Prostitution in the Republic of Cyprus is not illegal but the sex industry remains unregulated.
A local law still on the books makes the running of brothels anywhere unlawful by definition, giving police a legal footing to raid suspected houses of ill repute and detain sex workers unless they are found to be victims.