Police have arrested a male suspect in connection with an illegal prostitution ring in Limassol, while six women are being treated as possible sex trafficking victims.
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According to police, a 48-year-old man from China was arrested Monday afternoon during a raid at a massage parlor in Limassol, while six women were also taken to the police station for questioning. Five of the women aged 38, 35, 34, 25, and 23, were described as coming from Asian countries while a 35-year-old female was from Moldova.
The massage parlor was under surveillance for three months until cops conducted a final operation on Monday with a search warrant
Police said none of the females were detained at any time during the operation.
Three males were also found to be at the massage parlor at the time of the operation, according to police sources, two Greek Cypriots aged 70 and 35, as well as a 35-year-old from Bulgaria. All three men were believed to have been customers and were questioned by police.
According to police, the massage parlor was placed under surveillance three months earlier until cops were ready to conduct a final operation on Monday with a search warrant.
Sources told Knews that police contacted Chinese authorities regarding information on the case. But it was not clear whether Chinese officials had been aware of the operation beyond the point of providing biographical or background information on possible suspects. Meetings took place at Europol headquarters in The Hague according to Cyprus News Agency (CNA).
The raid lasted from 9am through 4:30pm, while members from the anti-trafficking unit also took part in the operation. Cops searched the place and confiscated cash in the amount of €4268, computers and tablets, mobile phones, handwritten notes, and a CCTV system.
The Chinese male suspect was remanded in custody on Tuesday for eight days. He is facing sex trafficking charges and exploitation, illegally withholding passports, false imprisonment, and illegal gains.
Prostitution is not illegal in the Republic of Cyprus, while trafficking, pimping and running a brothel are offences punishable by law.