The coronavirus pandemic has made efforts in Cyprus and elsewhere to tackle human trafficking even more difficult, according to police officer Eleni Michael who heads the unit tasked with eliminating this criminal action.
“The pandemic days have not only increased the activity of internet traffickers, they have also increased competition amongst them,” she told Philenews.
She made the statements to also mark 20 years on Sunday since the death of a 20-year-old Russian woman, Oxana Rantseva, who had committed suicide after being trafficked to Cyprus.
Under the ‘artiste visa’ scheme, she had worked at a cabaret in Limassol where she was subjected to sexual exploitation.
Rantseva was found dead on March 28, 2001 below the balcony of an apartment belonging to an employee of the cabaret.
At the same time, director of Cyprus Stop Trafficking non-governmental organization Paraskevi Tzeou said that new trafficking victims come to the shelter every time covid-19 measures are relaxed even though pubs are closed.
“Where have all these girls been before?…One possible explanation is that once the pubs are closed, traffickers make use of apartments and their actions are made even more difficult to be detected,” she added.