Urge Cyprus Govt to Combat Human Trafficking!
Cyprus is a destination country for human trafficking for sexual exploitation. Cyprus is accused of having the worst record for human trafficking in Europe. As many as 4,000 women a year are lured to the island by false promises of employment and then forced to work as prostitutes. Victims of sex trafficking can be found in "cabarets" (strip clubs where women are forced into prostitution), gentlemen's clubs & bars that "serve" women (seedy establishments with 'gynaikes', 'kopeles', 'putanes') and in massage parlors where the women are held. Cyprus is on the 'Tier 2 Watch List'* - if the Cyprus Government and Authorities do not act responsibly and drastically the consequences are embarrassing and unpleasant for Cyprus and the Cypriot people. Abolishing the 'artiste' visas is NOT enough! The 'artiste' visas was a way for traffickers to bring girls into Cyprus for sexual exploitation. Traffickers can still find other ways to bring in girls. The problem will persist unless the Cyprus Government, Ministry of Labour, Ministry of Interior, Immigration, Police and other Authorities take substantial measures to prevent it. Therefore, we demand that the Cyprus Government and Authorities step up it's action against Human Trafficking, And: 1.- Create a special Anti-Trafficking Unit within the Police force, operational 24/7, with sufficient, fully trained staff and a dedicated 24/7 Hotline with immediate response. 2.- Enforce the Law and Judicial system to standards as seen in Europe, UK and USA in order to effectively punish traffickers and exploiting 'employers' with hefty jail terms. 3.- Shut down the businesses exploiting trafficked victims and confiscate the convicted traffickers assets. Confiscated assets can be used to fund anti-trafficking efforts, NGO's, shelters and to compensate the victims. 4.- Improve the Welfare Services system with regards to better assisting the victims of trafficking by increasing efficiency, effectiveness and speed in responding; eliminating delays in giving benefits; offering medical help, psychological counseling and any other such assistance as seen offered in Europe, UK and USA. 5.- Train and educate the various Authorities dealing with trafficking to treat the trafficking victims as victims, and NOT as criminals culpable in any way. 6.- Think Globally: become part of the Global effort to fight human trafficking by cooperating, collaborating and working with other anti-trafficking agencies around the world; implement good practices other countries use to combat and punish traffickers; exchange intelligence and so on. 7.- Assist and cooperate with other Cyprus NGO's with the aim to combat human trafficking; fund awareness raising and educational programs in the society and schools. TO SIGN THE PETITION PLEASE SCROLL DOWN TO BOTTOM OF THIS PAGE. ___________________________________________________________ Trafficking FAQ's Trafficking is modern-day slavery. Today an estimated 27 million people are living in slavery, 80% of which are women, 50% children. Globally over 1.2 million people are trafficked and enslaved each year... That is over 3000 people per day... 2 persons per minute... In 2007, Slave Traders made more money than Google, Nike and Starbucks combined. Trafficking/slavery is a $32 Billion per year industry. It's the fastest growing organized crime. Through open, active participation of all people, Human Slavery can be ended in our lifetime. --------------------------------- *What do the ''tiers'' of the 'Trafficking in Persons Report' mean Tier 1: Countries that fully comply with the act's minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. Tier 2: Countries that do not fully comply with the minimum standards but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance. Tier 2 Watch List: Countries on Tier 2 requiring special scrutiny because of a high or significantly increasing number of victims; failure to provide evidence of increasing efforts to combat trafficking in persons; or an assessment as Tier 2 based on commitments to take action over the next year. Tier 3: Countries that neither satisfy the minimum standards nor demonstrate a significant effort to come into compliance. Countries in this tier are subject to potential non-humanitarian and non-trade sanctions. --------------------------------- Human Trafficking Definition According to the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children, which supplements the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, trafficking in persons is defined as follows: "Trafficking in persons" shall mean the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs. Trafficking invariably involves forcible movement of a person from one place to another and forcible utilization of their services with the intention of inducting them into trade for commercial gains. The word 'forcible' signifies that the action is against the person's will or that consensus has been obtained by making deceptive claims and false allurements. In some cases, consensus is obtained because of the victim's social conditioning, where the victim is not even aware that s/he is being exploited. --------------------------------- What is human trafficking Trafficking in persons is modern-day slavery, involving victims who are forced, defrauded or coerced into labour or sexual exploitation. Annually, an estimated 1.2 million people, mostly women and children, are trafficked globally. People are snared into trafficking by many means. In some cases, physical force is used. In other cases, false promises are made regarding job opportunities or marriages in foreign countries to entrap victims. --------------------------------- Trafficking vs. Prostitution Sometimes the terms prostitution and sexual trafficking are used interchangeably, but they are different. Trafficking requires an element of force, coercion, deception and exploitation (whereas this is not always the case for prostitution). --------------------------------- Yelena is a 25-year old Belarusian with a college degree. She responded to a Minsk employment agency's advertisement seeking nightclub dancers in Cyprus. The agency provided Yelena with a work visa, a three-month employment contract, and a written guarantee that the job would not require any sexual activities. Immediately upon arrival in Cyprus, the owners of the nightclub where she was to work confiscated her passport and told her she would be forced to work as a prostitute at the club. They also told Yelena that she would have to repay a "debt" to cover her travel and visa expenses. Over the next three months, she was forced to work in the Cypriot sex industry, suffering physical and psychological abuse. The club owners confiscated her earnings as "debt" payments. Once the owners recovered their expenses, they released Yelena with nothing. (Source: U.S. Dept of State TIP Report 2004) --------------------------------------------------- BY TICKING THE BOX "Display my name as anonymous on the signatures list" YOUR NAME WILL NOT APPEAR AND WILL SHOW AS "ANONYMOUS". THANK YOU FOR SIGNING THE PETITION