98611 3/1/2007 14:39 07NICOSIA168 Embassy Nicosia UNCLASSIFIED 06STATE202745 VZCZCXRO1854 PP RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDBU RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG DE RUEHNC #0168/01 0601439 ZNR UUUUU ZZH P 011439Z MAR 07 FM AMEMBASSY NICOSIA TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7585 INFO RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 4890 RUEHAC/AMEMBASSY ASUNCION PRIORITY 0037 RUEHTH/AMEMBASSY ATHENS PRIORITY 3809 RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 0866 RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 4260 RUEHBM/AMEMBASSY BUCHAREST PRIORITY 0352 RUEHUP/AMEMBASSY BUDAPEST PRIORITY 0082 RUEHCH/AMEMBASSY CHISINAU PRIORITY 0105 RUEHLM/AMEMBASSY COLOMBO PRIORITY 0151 RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 2062 RUEHKV/AMEMBASSY KYIV PRIORITY 0010 RUEHLJ/AMEMBASSY LJUBLJANA PRIORITY 0044 RUEHML/AMEMBASSY MANILA PRIORITY 0068 RUEHSK/AMEMBASSY MINSK PRIORITY 0062 RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW PRIORITY 2140 RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI PRIORITY 0049 RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 1744 RUEHRA/AMEMBASSY RIGA PRIORITY 0054 RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 0784 RUEHDG/AMEMBASSY SANTO DOMINGO PRIORITY 0007 RUEHSF/AMEMBASSY SOFIA PRIORITY 0616 RUEHTL/AMEMBASSY TALLINN PRIORITY 0027 RUEHNT/AMEMBASSY TASHKENT PRIORITY 0041 RUEHTV/AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV PRIORITY 6388 RUEHWR/AMEMBASSY WARSAW PRIORITY 0251 RUEHIK/AMCONSUL THESSALONIKI PRIORITY 0019 RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS PRIORITY RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC PRIORITY RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE PRIORITY 0090 RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC PRIORITY RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 0800 RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHDC PRIORITY RUEAHLC/HOMELAND SECURITY CENTER WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 09 NICOSIA 000168
FOR G/TIP, G, INL, PRM, AND EUR/PGI; FOR EUR/SE MCLEGG-TRIPP AND EMELLINGER; STATE PLEASE PASS TO USAID
E.O. 12958:N/A TAGS: KCRM, CY, PHUM, KWMN, SMIG, KFRD, ASEC, PREF, ELAB SUBJECT: REPUBLIC OF CYPRUS -- SEVENTH ANNUAL TIP REPORT SUBMISSION
REF: 06 STATE 202745
NICOSIA 00000168 001.2 OF 009
1. (U) Paras 3-6 are sensitive but unclassified --not/not for Internet distribution.
2. (U) Embassy Nicosia hereby submits information for the April 2006 - March 2007 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report. Embassy point of contact is Terry Steers-Gonzalez, Political Section, Tel: (357) 22-39-3364, Fax: (357) 22-39-3467. Approximately 80 hours (FSO-03) and 55 hours (FSN) were spent in preparing this material.
3. (SBU) Answers in this para are keyed to the questions in reftel, para 27, "Overview."
A. Cyprus is largely a destination country for trafficked women working in the sex industry. Of the 79 women identified as trafficking victims during the reporting period, 21 were Ukrainian, 15 were Moldovan, 13 were Filipina, five were Chinese, five were Romanian, four were Russian, four were Moroccan, three were Polish, two were Bulgarian, two were Latvian, and one each was Uzbek, Belarusian, Dominican, Israeli and Paraguayan. Fifty-nine of these identified victims testified or will testify in cases against their traffickers/employers. The government issued 3,367 "artiste"-category work permits during the reporting period, though the actual number of foreign women to work in cabarets under this category was less due to multiple entries. The government also issued 320 work permits to foreign women to work in pubs. Immigration police reported that women rotate among cabarets in different cities throughout Cyprus. There were also reports of trafficking in the area administered by Turkish Cypriots, north of the Green Line, which is outside of the government's control (septel).
The Social Welfare Department assisted 126 foreign women in 2006. Some of these women stayed in government-run temporary shelters; 69 stayed at the Limassol shelter run by the STIGMA organization; and others stayed with friends, receiving benefits from the Social Welfare Department.
Of the 69 victims housed throughout the year at the Stigma shelter, 28 were Ukrainian, 17 were Moldovan, six were Russian, six were Filipina, four were Romanian, three were Moroccan, three were Chinese and two were Bulgarian. The shelter reported that victims were typically young women in their early 20s.
There continued to be reports of women coming to Cyprus from China on student visas, who then engage in prostitution and, in some cases, find themselves victims of sexual exploitation.
There were no reports of men or children being trafficked.
B. The government has demonstrated at the highest levels the political will to address trafficking. Since the last TIP report,
NICOSIA 00000168 002.2 OF 009
police raids, arrests and prosecutions all increased. The government approved the use of the former prison director's estate as a publicly-supported shelter for victims of trafficking; it is scheduled to open in late March. In early February, the Social Welfare Department finalized and disseminated to relevant government agencies a handbook that standardizes procedures for the handling of trafficking victims. In late February, the Ministry of Interior co-hosted with the Council of Europe a regional anti-TIP conference. It also printed 50,000 flyers and 800 posters for a demand-reduction campaign, scheduled to start in March. As part of this campaign, the Ministry secured rights to an UN-produced public service announcement, to be aired on CyBC, Cyprus's state television network. The Police's Office to Combat Trafficking in Human Beings is now staffed with three full-time officers. They, too, printed 10,000 flyers for an anti-TIP public awareness campaign, distributed during the reporting period by community police.
According to relevant government agencies, NGOs and journalists, as well as the victims themselves, foreign women are trafficked to Cyprus primarily for the purpose of prostitution. The most common methods of forced compliance are withholding salary, confiscation of travel documents, threat of deportation, and restriction of movement and association.
There are also credible reports of women from the Philippines, India, and Sri Lanka, who come to Cyprus to work as domestic household help, are forced to work excessively long hours and are denied proper compensation and benefits. NGOs report that private sector employers, commonly restaurants and farms, have withheld pay and threatened migrants illegally working on Cyprus. Some of these employers supposedly facilitated the migrants' entry into Cyprus on work permits that were unrelated to their true employment.
C. The government does not lack the resources to combat trafficking; however, relevant government agencies still complain about the lack of staffing and training for anti-TIP efforts. General police corruption is not viewed as a problem; however, during the reporting period, there were three specific cases of officials' involvement in TIP-related activities. See para 5.M.
D. The Ministry of Interior coordinates implementation of Cyprus's "Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons and Sexual Exploitation of Children." It, along with other relevant government agencies, assessed anti-TIP efforts at a February conference co-hosted by the Council of Europe. See para 3.B. These same officials have cooperated fully with Embassy officers throughout the reporting period, providing general and specific assessments, statistics, and other information.
4. (SBU) Answers in this para are keyed to the questions in reftel, para 28, "Prevention."
A. The government acknowledges that trafficking is a problem and is
NICOSIA 00000168 003.2 OF 009
committed at the highest levels to combating it.
B. The Ministries of Interior, Labor/Social Insurance, Justice/Public Order, and Commerce/Industry/Tourism, as well as the Attorney General, are involved in anti-TIP efforts. (Note: The Social Welfare Department is under the authority of the Ministry of Labor/Social Insurance; the police are under the authority of the Ministry of Justice/Public Order. End note.) The Ministry of Interior was appointed "coordinator" for implementation of Cyprus's Plan of Action.
C. In February, the Ministry of Interior co-hosted with the Council of Europe a regional anti-TIP conference. High ranking government officials participated, and the event received extensive local media coverage. The Ministry of Interior unveiled at the conference its demand-reduction campaign, scheduled to commence in March, which includes 50,000 flyers, 800 posters, and UN-produced public service announcements to be aired on state TV CyBC. The Ministry also produced, and the Migration Department distributed, Greek-language and English-language brochures to all temporary workers entering Cyprus; this initiative is in addition to the brochures distributed to "artiste"-category workers, on which Post reported last year. During the reporting period, TIP arrests received broad media coverage, and police representatives were interviewed on a number of TV and radio talk shows. Police, too, printed 10,000 flyers for an anti-TIP public awareness campaign, distributed during the reporting period during community policing activities.
D. During the previous reporting period, the Ministry of Justice provided CyP 5,000 (approx. $11,350) to the Mediterranean Institute for Gender Studies (MIGS), a local NGO, to produce a demand-reduction campaign, including 15,000 flyers and 1,000 posters. The campaign commenced in March 2006 and is still ongoing. The flyers/posters have been distributed to colleges and government agencies island-wide and were e-mailed to 3,000 recipients worldwide. The NGO has recently secured permission to place its posters, free of charge, throughout Nicosia. MIGS also received government funding for TIP-related research, which was carried out during the reporting period; the findings have not yet been released.
E. During the year, the government improved its cooperation with anti-TIP NGOs. These NGOs reported that some government agencies -- particularly the Ministry of Justice, including the police, and the Social Welfare Department -- supported their anti-TIP activities. Unlike in previous years, the Stigma shelter now reports a good working relationship with the police and with the Social Welfare Department, despite the fact that the latter turned down the shelter's grant request because Stigma board members would have also received compensation as shelter employees. NGOs, however, also noted that the Migration Department, under the Ministry of Interior, has not been responsive to their complaints about inadequate support for victims who wish to remain in the country to work in different
NICOSIA 00000168 004.2 OF 009
fields of employment.
F. Immigration police monitor immigration and emigration patterns for evidence of trafficking. According to the Ministry of Interior, as of February, "artiste"-category work permits are sent directly to ROC embassies/consulates to be personally collected by the employee-migrant. Previously, work permits were instead sent to the employer-applicant. Consular or administrative staff brief the employee-migrant, and provide her a brochure containing employment and emergency services information; she is required to sign a statement saying she has been briefed and received the information brochure.
G. The Ministry of Interior meets regularly with the various government agencies that have anti-TIP responsibilities; the Ministry's Permanent Secretary serves as the overall ROC coordinator and has, therefore, been identified to Embassy as the point of contact on TIP. The government does not have a public corruption task force; however, there is a government-appointed, independent committee that examines complaints against the police, including complaints involving corruption.
H. On May 12, 2005, the Council of Ministers approved Cyprus's "Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons and Sexual Exploitation of Children." It was drafted by a group of experts with input from the Ministries of Interior, Labor and Social Insurance, Justice and Public Order, and Commerce, Industry and Tourism, as well as the Attorney General, Ombudsman and NGOs. The Ministry of Interior was appointed "coordinator." The action plan has been distributed to all relevant government agencies as well as NGOs, and is available in electronic form, Greek-language and English-language, from the Ministry of Interior.
5. (SBU) Answers in this para are keyed to the questions in reftel, para 29, "Investigation and Prosecution of Traffickers."
A. Cyprus's law enforcement authorities rely on a January 2000 anti-TIP law based on 1997 EU regulations, making it a felony to engage in the sexual exploitation and trafficking of adults and children. Under this law, a trafficker may be convicted even if there is evidence that a victim, including an adult victim, consented to the trafficker's activities, which are indicators of the crime. The law also stipulates that victims have the right to file civil lawsuits against anyone responsible for their exploitation, and it holds those responsible liable to pay special and general compensation covering all costs incurred by the victim, including repatriation. The civil courts may also order the payment of punitive compensation based on the extent of exploitation suffered.
A more comprehensive anti-TIP bill has been finalized by the Attorney General and should be submitted to the Council of Ministers for approval in March; the bill would then be reviewed by Cyprus's
NICOSIA 00000168 005.2 OF 009
House of Representatives. The new law will bring Cyprus into compliance with the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings, as well as make the country's laws consistent with other multilateral instruments. It will expand the definition of trafficking beyond sexual exploitation and will provide for a 30-day reflection period for trafficking victims.
Law No. 11 (III) of 2003, ratifying the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Crime, criminalizes forced labor or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, or servitude.
B. The 2000 anti-TIP law obligates the state to provide protection and support for victims and prescribes punishment of up to 15 years for cases involving adult victims and 20 years for cases involving child victims. Accessories to trafficking cases can be punished with fines up to CyP 10,000 (approx. $22,700) and/or 10 years imprisonment.
C. Forced labor, slavery or servitude is punishable with fines up to CyP 15,000 (approx. $34,000) and/or 12 years imprisonment, when committed against adults, and with fines up to CyP 50,000 (approx. $114,000) and/or 20 years imprisonment, when committed against children. It is illegal for employers to confiscate a foreign worker's passport or travel documents, switch contracts without the worker's consent, or withhold payment of salaries. There is no information available on whether persons have been convicted for such offenses or on the possible punishments imposed.
D. Rape or forcible sexual assault is punishable with up to life imprisonment. Attempted rape is punishable with up to 10 years imprisonment.
E. It is illegal "to live off the proceeds of prostitution" or "to procure a woman for the purpose of prostitution," thus criminalizing the activities of brothel owners and pimps. Police claim that trafficking victims are not arrested on the grounds of the above laws.
F. During the reporting period, police investigated 60 suspected trafficking cases, compared to the previous year's 47 cases. Of those 60 cases, 48 were prepared for trial under the anti-TIP law, and the remaining 12 were prepared for trial under prostitution-related laws.
Within those 48 cases prepared for trial under the anti-TIP law, 94 persons were separately charged, compared to the previous year's 74 persons.
Of the 48 cases prepared for trial under the anti-TIP law, 34 were prosecuted, of which 24 are still pending trial; four persons were convicted and four received acquittals, while one case remains "nolle prosequi" and one was dismissed. Sentences ranged from four to nine months imprisonment. Of the 14 cases yet to be prosecuted,
NICOSIA 00000168 006.2 OF 009
nine are still under investigation, one was declared non-existent, and four were otherwise disposed of.
Within the 12 cases prepared for trial under prostitution-related laws, 22 persons were separately charged.
Of the 12 cases prepared for trial under prostitution-related laws, six were prosecuted, of which three are still pending trial; three persons were convicted. Sentences ranged from a CyP 250 (approx. $570) fine to 12 months imprisonment. Of the six cases yet to be prosecuted, four are still under investigation, one was declared non-existent, and one was otherwise disposed of.
Of the 71 pending cases prepared for trial under the anti-TIP law from previous reporting periods, 43 were eventually prosecuted, of which 17 are still pending trial; 13 persons were convicted, while three cases remain "nolle prosequi," two were dismissed, two were withdrawn, and six were otherwise disposed of. Sentences ranged from nine to 14 months imprisonment.
G. Trafficking victims staying at the Stigma shelter report that they were recruited in their home countries by local "agents" looking for dancers; some also responded to Internet advertisements. They traveled to Cyprus alone and were then met at one of Cyprus's international airports by a local "impresario," who was in possession of the foreign woman's "artiste"-category work permit. These "impresarios" allegedly work on contract for legitimate employment agencies licensed by the state; the agencies sign the women's travel documents and work contracts. "Impresarios" are usually Cypriots. Police and NGOs both report that former "artistes," who have since married Cypriots, often work with their husbands or former employers to recruit women from their home countries.
H. Police actively investigate cases of trafficking resulting from evidence collected during unannounced raids, undercover sting operations, and complaints submitted directly to them by trafficking victims or NGOs. In 2006, police conducted 164 raids on cabarets, pubs and other establishments. The police maintain that, in all the trafficking cases that resulted in convictions, the victim testified in court. They claim that the primary reason for not getting more convictions is the victims' refusal to testify. Cypriot law allows evidence obtained through undercover investigations, but not through wiretapping.
I. The police stated that TIP training is a required unit in the curriculum of all criminal investigators. Also during the reporting period, the police academy organized four one-week anti-TIP training seminars. Officers continue to attend training sessions overseas with INTERPOL, EUROPOL and CEPOL (the European Police College).
J. During the reporting period, police assisted with 12 Interpol and 12 Europol international trafficking investigations, compared to the
NICOSIA 00000168 007.2 OF 009
previous year's five international trafficking investigations. Cyprus has international cooperative agreements with Greece, Russia, Syria, Italy, Hungary, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Estonia, Lebanon and Ukraine. The government does not, however, cooperate with Turkish Cypriot authorities in investigating or prosecuting trafficking cases.
K. The ROC constitution bars the extradition of Cypriot citizens. While third country nationals may be extradited, no foreign citizens charged with trafficking have been so extradited during the reporting period.
L. There is no evidence of government involvement in, or tolerance of, trafficking on a local or institutional level.
M. See para 5.L. However, there are three separate cases of government officials' involvement in trafficking-related activities. In all three cases, the government responded promptly and decisively.
NGOs complained that a mid-level officer of the Migration Department, who was tasked with issuing "artiste"-category work permits, and who allegedly had close ties with cabaret owners and employment agents, attempted to influence trafficking victims against identifying their traffickers. In October, this official was removed from his position because of the NGOs' complaints; he was not prosecuted, however, due to a lack of evidence.
A special police constable, arrested on prostitution-related charges, was sentenced on December 18 to 14 months imprisonment. He was dismissed from the police.
Another police officer was charged with sexual exploitation and, although acquitted by the court, was dismissed from the force.
O. (i) The ILO Convention 182 Concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labor was ratified by the ROC on November 27, 2000.
(ii) ILO Conventions 29 and 105 on Forced or Compulsory Labor were ratified by the ROC on September 23, 1960.
(iii) The Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography was ratified by the ROC on April 6, 2006.
(iv) The Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, Supplementing the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime was ratified by the ROC in August 2003.
NICOSIA 00000168 008.2 OF 009
6. (SBU) Answers in this para are keyed to the questions in reftel, para 30, "Protection and Assistance to Victims."
A. Under the 2000 anti-TIP law, the government is required to protect individuals who bring trafficking complaints. This includes providing shelter as well as medical and psychiatric care until victims recover from any traumatic experience. Convicted traffickers may be required by the courts to pay the costs of the above services. The government has assigned to the Social Welfare Department the responsibility of advising and giving counsel to victims. During the reporting period, it provided services to 126 trafficking victims.
It also finalized the "Manual of Interdepartmental Procedures for Handling Cases of Victims of Trafficking," which was approved by the Council of Ministers and disseminated to all relevant government agencies.
The Social Welfare Department, per the 2000 anti-TIP law, provided shelter for identified trafficking victims in subsidized homes, usually eldercare facilities, for up to three weeks. It also provided financial support and psychological services to victims housed at the STIGMA shelter, as well as to others who chose to stay with friends. Significantly, the government has approved the use of the former prison director's estate in Nicosia as a publicly-supported shelter. The Social Welfare Department is in the process of recruiting personnel for the shelter, which is scheduled to open in March.
B. During the reporting period, the Ministry of Justice and Public Order provided CyP 10,000 (approx. $22,700) to the Stigma shelter for accommodation of and services to trafficking victims.
C. The government's "Manual of Interdepartmental Procedures for Handling Cases of Victims of Trafficking" formalizes the identification system used by police and the referral mechanisms to transfer victims to the care of the Social Welfare Department. Also, the police report a 63 percent increase this year over last year in the number of TIP-related calls to their crime-prevention hotline.
D. Trafficking victims are allowed to stay in Cyprus if they cooperate with the investigation and prosecution of their former employer-traffickers. During that period, the government provides shelter, financial support and legal assistance.
Most foreign women arrested during police operations but unwilling to cooperate with the investigation/prosecution are deported. There were seven such cases during the reporting period.
Though the rights of trafficking victims are generally observed by the government, there were instances during the reporting period in which foreign women were charged with crimes before they could be identified as victims. Police claim that such arrests, such as that
NICOSIA 00000168 009.2 OF 009
of a Moldovan woman in October, were intended to keep the women in -- will be gained to mitigate the impact of a VBIED. On the East end of the street (currently blocked with a chain) bollards can be installed. These bollards should be secured but also have the capability to be manually removed to allow an alternate means for the Patriarch to vary his routes. On the West end of the street, Guards, a booth, bollards and a delta barrier are needed to control vehicle access. This expanded perimeter would not only increase setback, it would put personnel in a better position to possibly detect surveillance and alert other security personnel and employees of an attack.
9. (SBU) Security Concern: Entry doors to the administrative facilities are not a deterrent. Current doors remain open and even if they were locked, the glass could be broken and access gained with minimal delay to attackers.
-- Recommendation: Install more substantial security doors on all entrances to further delay any potential attacker who bypasses the other rings of security. Each security door, which may require a new frame, could be outfitted with a Unicam or other type device to facilitate entry during working hours.
10. (SBU) Security Concern: Safe Haven for Patriarch/fellow priests and employees. Note: The inside of his office was not visited nor was time available to tour the living quarters for priests or other offices. End Note.
-- Recommendation: Install security doors or harden all existing interior doors that lead directly to the Patriarch's Office in order to provide additional security in case attackers breach all lines of defense. If there is an interior bathroom in his office, that can be made into an additional secure location (a safe haven). Other safe havens can be established in other parts of the buildings for employees and priests. An emergency action plan and drills would teach priests and employees on what measures they should take to protect themselves and how to react to alarms. JONES