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Cyprus: EWL members alert on Cypriot failure to transpose trafficking directive

(Nicosia, 30 April 2013) The Mediterranean Institute of Gender Studies (MIGS) is gravely concerned with the failure of the Cyprus Government to transpose the European Directive on Trafficking in Human Beings in its national legislation by the deadline of 6 April 2013. EU member states, including Cyprus, had a period of two years following the adoption of the Directive in 2011 to enact legislations and measures to fight trafficking in human beings are developed and implemented in accordance with the Directive.

Cyprus is the only country in the European Union that was found guilty of violating laws related to trafficking by the European Court of Human Rights (Ranchev vs. Cyprus case) and is among the 21 EU member states that have not yet transposed the Directive. As an NGO that participates in the Multidisciplinary Coordinating Group for the Combating of Trafficking in Human Beings, we cannot understand the reasons for the delay and this pose serious questions of transparency.

The EU Directive on preventing and combating trafficking in human beings and protecting its victims, as well as the European Strategy towards the Eradication of Trafficking in Human Beings, not only strengthens Cyprus legislation on the issue, but provides the necessary tools for a holistic and comprehensive policy as well as for the implementation of concrete measures for all relevant government stakeholders to address different areas of trafficking in human beings.

screen shot 2013 04 30 at 13 40 59The European Anti-Trafficking Coordinator, Myria Vassiliadou, in an interview with CyBC Radio, pointed out that human trafficking in Europe is on the increase and the economic and financial crisis will contribute further to this increase, as women and men become more vulnerable to poverty and exploitation. Dr Vassiliadou also emphasized that now is the appropriate time take action as further delay will prove more costly, both economically and socially, as victims continue to increase. It is not surprising therefore that the NGO Cyprus STOP Trafficking recently stated that trafficking in Cyprus is taking new dimensions with Cypriot women now among the victims. Furthermore, there is evidence that the number of women being trafficked into domestic work is also on the increase.

It is obvious that the current legislation in Cyprus has not proved effective in bringing the desired results, as convictions of traffickers had been few and far between and the issue of ‘demand’ for services by victims of trafficking has not been addressed. The Directive and the EU Strategy for the eradication of trafficking provide the necessary resources for Member States to achieve more convictions of traffickers and foresee action to reduce demand including the criminalization of persons using services by victims of trafficking, among others. ?he Institute calls on the State to proceed to the immediate transposition of the EU Directive on Trafficking in Human Beings without further delay.

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