Monday

19th Nov 2018

Cyprus ranks with Afghanistan on human trafficking

  • More than 75 percent of all victims trafficked in Europe are sexually exploited. (Photo: Ira Gelb)

A United States report on human trafficking published on Wednesday (20 June) claims severe forms of human trafficking in Cyprus are "significantly increasing".

The ranking places Cyprus in the same category as Afghanistan and Liberia where cases of women and children forcibly exploited for sex and slave-like work conditions are prevalent.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

Cyprus is the only EU member state to make the US State Department tier 2 watchlist, for a second year in a row.

Cypriot minister of interior told EUobserver in a statement that while the US report "recognises that Cyprus is making significant efforts it essentially annihilates all the efforts and steps forward that Cyprus has made towards achieving the goal of effectively combating trafficking in human beings."

Despite past efforts to fight human trafficking, Cyprus has however reportedly failed to implement critical reforms necessary to protect victims. Forced prostitution and exploitation of migrant workers is not uncommon, says the report.

But the Cypriot minister noted that Cyprus has held numerous training seminars and conferences with international organisations. She also stated that the report relied heavily on input from NGOs and "does not provide convincing arguments that any in-depth research has been conducted to verify this information."

The report also took a stab Estonia, Latvia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Portugal, Greece and non-EU member state Switzerland for not complying to US minimum standards against human trafficking.

“It is good that it is highlighted,” said Myria Vassiliadou, the EU’s anti-trafficking coordinator, of the US report.

“But what I can say is that a directive is waiting to be transposed and will help push these member states to improve,” she told Euro deputies at the Parliament’s civil liberties committee on Wednesday.

Member states have just over a year to transpose the EU anti-trafficking directive into their national legislation. The directive focuses on preventing the crime, protecting victims, and prosecuting traffickers.

But the number of convictions against traffickers in the EU is low compared to the number of victims.

Just over 1,250 people were convicted in 21 EU member states in 2010. The Commission estimates the number of victims across the Union to be in the hundreds of thousands.

A lack of coordination amongst member states and insufficient evidence to convict human traffickers helps explains the low conviction rates.

“The EU strategy, aside from one or two actions, does not require member states to spend any extra money,” Vassiliadou told this website.

In a poignant reminder of the victim’s suffering, many in silence and in fear, a 15 year-old Romanian girl told her story of how at 13 she was forced to marry an older man who “treated me like I was 20 or 30 years old”.

She was sent, along with her ‘husband’, to Spain where she was coerced into stealing or face severe physical abuse. She eventually ended up in Belgium before letting herself get caught by the police. She now resides in a center for victims.

The European Commission on Tuesday also noted a lack coordination between and among member state authorities to fight human trafficking.

National authorities are not providing Eurojust, the EU's joint judicial body in The Hague, with the data that could help track down the people behind crimes which are often cross-border in nature.

Preliminary data from the EU’s statistical office, Eurostat, found around 70 percent of the victims were women in 2010. Of those, more than 10 percent are girls. The vast majority were exploited for sex while less then 15 percent worked as slaves.

“It is striking that this is happening in 2012 and it is increasing. We most stop this form of modern slavery,” EU home affairs commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom told reporters on Brussels on Tuesday.

The European Commission also adopted its strategy against human trafficking on Tuesday.

The strategy aims to better identify and protect victims; increase prosecution of traffickers; develop child protection systems; set up of national law-enforcement units on human trafficking; and create joint investigation teams including national authorities and EU agencies.

Romania data chief defends forcing press to reveal sources

Romania's data protection authority is headed by Ancuta Gianina Opre, who in 2017 was charged with abuse of office in her previous job. Last week, she threatened a €20m fine against journalists in their effort to uncover corruption.

EU warns Romania not to abuse GDPR against press

Romania's data protection authority has threatened a €20m fine against reporters investigating high-level corruption. The European Commission has since issued a warning, telling Romanian authorities to give press exemptions when it comes to privacy rights.

News in Brief

  1. Germany and France agree eurozone budget framework
  2. Austrian foreign minister: EU's Israel policy 'too strict'
  3. Soros and Kurz discuss Central European University move
  4. EU set to tighten rules on foreign strategic investment
  5. Macron repeats call for unified Europe in Bundestag speech
  6. US warns EU banks and firms against trading with Iran
  7. Merkel urged Romania not to move embassy to Jerusalem
  8. Protesters call for Czech leader to step down

Opinion

Interpol, China and the EU

China joins a long list of countries - including Russia - accused of abusing Interpol's 'Red Notice' system to harras activists and dissidents.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  5. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  6. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  7. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  8. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  9. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  10. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  12. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs

Latest News

  1. Dutch flesh out proposal for EU human rights sanctions
  2. EU cheerleaders go to Russia-occupied Ukraine
  3. EU must recognise new force for Balkans destabilisation
  4. Brexit dominates EU affairs This WEEK
  5. How the EU commission got tunnel vision on self-driving cars
  6. No-confidence calls against May put Brexit deal in doubt
  7. Key points of the Brexit deal (if it ever comes into effect)
  8. Romania heaps scorn on 'revolting' EU criticism

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  3. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  5. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  7. Mission of China to the EUChina: Work Together for a Better Globalisation
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNordics Could Be First Carbon-Negative Region in World
  9. European Federation of Allergy and AirwaysLife Is Possible for Patients with Severe Asthma
  10. PKEE - Polish Energy AssociationCommon-Sense Approach Needed for EU Energy Reform
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to Lead in Developing and Rolling Out 5G Network
  12. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Economic and Trade Relations Enjoy a Bright Future

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us