A new approach modernising the existing institutional framework for prostitution in Cyprus through the creation of an action plan is urgently needed, said Human Rights Commissioner Eliza Savvidou.
The Commissioner was speaking during a presentation of the report on the institutional framework for prostitution in Cyprus.
Savvidou said that something needs to be done as weaknesses in the existing institutional framework have led to a series of cases involving infringement of fundamental rights linked to prostitution.
She said that following the meeting with all carriers involved held last April, she took into account all proposals and decided that an Action plan will help resolve the various issues that persist in relation to prostitution in Cyprus.
“The opinions submitted during the negotiations stage with relevant authorities were very helpful in shaping my final decision since they helped shed light on a number of social, legal and realistic parameters of this neglected issue of prostitution in Cyprus,” said the Commissioner.
“Consequently it was deemed necessary that we need to create an Action plan that will aim to protect and secure women’s rights and also target raising of awareness and informing the public on the issue with the aim of preventing discussions about “sex services”.”
She added that the National Independent Authority for Human Rights will be responsible for the creation of the Action plan with the help of experts, academics, representatives of relevant services and other authorities.
The Police Anti-trafficking unit said that it was difficult to separate prostitution from trafficking, with instances of women willingly entering prostitution rare.
Cyprus has seen an increase in prostitution rings from Greece, Bulgaria, Poland, Russia and Romania as a result of the economic crisis.
According to the Police Anti-trafficking unit, they come to Cyprus for the “safety and the increasing demand”.
The head of the Police Anti-trafficking unit Rita Theodorou Superman said articles in the Criminal Code must be updated in order to protect women who are dragged into this profession, adding that “our society needs to create support mechanisms for an exit from prostitution for women and not mechanisms that make it easier for them to enter into a life of prostitution.”