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By Peter Stevenson MEMBERS of Volunteer Doctors Cyprus have treated around 350 people at their free clinic in Nicosia since it opened three months ago, while two more, one in Paphos and one in Polis are due to open today. Limassol also has a free clinic, which was opened only last month, and plans have been drawn ...
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SOME 10 days ago, foreign minister Ioannis Kasoulides raised expectations by announcing the possibility of a deal with Turkey for the opening of the fenced off area of Famagusta, for the return of its inhabitants. In exchange the Cyprus government would agree to the opening of Tymbou airport to direct flights. ...
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Cyprus Internet Directory [ The wrong approach on human trafficking ]

The wrong approach on human trafficking

ANYONE who read last week’s reports about angry cabaret owners threatening dynamic measures in protest against the government’s plans to stop the issuing of work permits for their disreputable establishments will have been amused with arguments employed. Law-abiding cabaret-owners were no threat to a society plagued by corruption, drugs, financial scandals and illegal gambling, insisted the chairman of the association, urging the authorities to tackle the big social problems.

Allegations that cabarets were pushing women into prostitution and were living off immoral earnings were totally unfounded, said the president of the owners, who cited police data to support his case, admittedly, not very convincingly. Of 192 prostitution cases, over the previous three years, only 42 involved cabaret employees; of the cases involving women working in cabarets, only 22 went to court and no cabaret owner was found guilty of having committed a crime in any of these. Not exactly conclusive proof that cabarets were not involved in prostitution, but a reminder that closing down these establishments would not in itself eliminate human trafficking.

The government has obviously decided that not granting work permits for women to dance in cabarets was the most effective way to clamp down on these establishments.

Without the Eastern European ‘artistes’ doing their pole-dancing and lap-dancing routines, cabarets would be forced to close down, which is exactly what the owners have been saying. But would the government be able to block the employment of artistes, when it allows the employment of non-EU nationals in so many other sectors of the economy, especially when there are no local women prepared to work as strippers? If farmers and restaurateurs are entitled to hire non-EU nationals, on what grounds would cabarets be prevented from doing the same?

Could the government run the risk of being taken to court for discriminating against the cabaret owners? This is a distinct possibility considering that the operation of strip clubs is not illegal. On what grounds would the state restrict the owners of practising their trade? Even if cases of prostitution were proved against half the cabarets of Cyprus, there would still be no grounds on preventing the remainder from operating. The idea of not issuing work permits may seem an ingenious way, on the surface, of clamping down on prostitution, but it is an illiberal measure that could lead to many legal complications.

A more sensible approach would be for the authorities to safeguard the rights of the women employed by the cabarets. They do not enjoy the rights of other workers – they are made to sign contracts that deprive them of basic rights, their passports are held by their employers and their every movement is monitored by the cabaret’s henchmen. It is this despicable treatment of foreign women that needs to be stopped.

Any cabaret which fails to comply with these rules should not be issued with work permits in the future, as the state would have legal justification for taking drastic action.

(Source: Cyprus Mail)

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