[Nicosia, 7 November 2013] The European Women’s Lobby is pleased to see progress in the discussion on prostitution and trafficking for sexual exploitation in Cyprus. The Ombudsman has indeed delivered a report on trafficking, where she acknowledges that “Trafficking in persons can not be effectively addressed while the system of prostitution allows men to buy women”.
Last year, the Cyprus Women’s Lobby had been instrumental in launching the debate on prostitution and trafficking in women and girls, through different advocacy action. In May 2012, the Mediterranean Institute of Gender Studies (MIGS), a member of the Cyprus Women’s Lobby, had issued a press release, reacting to the way the media was framing the issue of prostitution, and calling for:
- The initiation of a public dialogue on the criminalization of demand for sexual services and other measures to discourage such demand;
- Access to comprehensive exit programmes for women in prostitution in combination with appropriate psychosocial support as well as programmes for their integration in the labour market;
- Access to high quality, free and confidential sexual and reproductive health services to women in prostitution without discrimination.
In November 2012, the Cyprus Women’s Lobby and the European Women’s Lobby (EWL) organised a political event to raise awareness on the issue of prostitution as a form of violence against women.
Following these actions, the Cyprus Ombudsman issued a consultation, to which the EWL and its members contributed in June 2013. The Ombusdman is now expected to deliver a second report on prostitution. The EWL and its Cyprus members hope that she will point out to the urgent need to tackle the demand for sex, which perpetuates inequality between women and men by trivialising men’s access to women’s body and sexuality, fuels trafficking and supports the sex industry.
Click here to read a press article about the Ombudsman’s report on trafficking, in Greek.