Police are filing charges against two women accused of running an illegal brothel, after they were arrested on Thursday in Limassol during an undercover trafficking operation that yielded no evidence.
Local media said two foreign females were detained during a prostitution raid in Yermasoyia, where undercover officers carried out a raid following a tip obtained by the anti-trafficking unit.
Two women aged 23 and 26 were detained during the raid of an apartment, with one caught in her underwear when officers barged in while the other was found in the bedroom along with a 40-year-old male on the bed.
Police did not issue an official report about the arrests but told Knews the women would remain in custody and face charges of operating an illegal brothel.
Police declined to provide a definition of a brothel but told Knews that a woman has the right to work as a prostitute as long as she does not commit any other violations
But local media reported that the two women from an African country told police they were renting the apartment on their own and sought customers for sex in exchange for money.
Police declined to comment on the raid. It was understood the apartment had been under surveillance following an anonymous tip that pointed to a location where prostitution and alleged sex trafficking took place.
Media reports said no evidence of exploitation had been found but confirmed other items pertinent to the investigation were confiscated.
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.
MP Rita Superman, who served as former head of the police anti-trafficking unit, defended undercover cops in the past and told media associates had to work in secret, pay with marked bills, and even have sexual intercourse in order to present evidence in court.
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.
Legislation efforts in parliament aiming to criminalize prostitution failed to provide a clear definition of a brothel, while municipality bill proposals cited public interest in calling for the closure or removal of houses of ill repute.
Police declined to provide a definition of a brothel within their operating manual but told Knews on Friday that a woman has the right to work as a prostitute as long as no other violations are being committed.