A delegation of the Council of Europe's Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA) carried out an evaluation visit to Cyprus from 10 to 13 June 2019 as part of the third evaluation round of the Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings. The focus of this evaluation round of the Convention, with Cyprus being among the first three countries to be monitored by GRETA, is on trafficking victims’ access to justice and effective remedies. Prior to the visit, the Cypriot authorities provided a reply to GRETA’s questionnaire for the third evaluation round. In addition to the new thematic focus, GRETA verified how the main recommendations made in its second evaluation report have been implemented.
During the visit, the GRETA delegation met members of the Multidisciplinary Co-ordination Group on Combating Human Trafficking. Amongst the officials met by GRETA were representatives of the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Justice and Administration, the Office Combating Trafficking in Human Beings of the Police, the Asylum Service, the Social Welfare Services, the Department of Labour, the Cybercrime Unit of the Police, and the Unit for Combating Money Laundering. In addition, the GRETA delegation met Mr Costas Clerides, Attorney General, and judges from Assize Courts and District Courts. Discussions were further held with the Commissioner for Administration and Human Rights, Ms Maria Stylianou-Lottides, and the Commissioner for Children’s Rights, Ms Leda Koursoumba.
In addition, meetings were held with representatives of non-governmental organisations and trade unions, victims of human trafficking, as well as a lawyer and a doctor assisting victims of trafficking in accessing their rights. The GRETA delegation also met representatives of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
In the course of the visit, the delegation visited the State shelter for female victims of trafficking, the Children’s House (Barnahus model), an NGO-run shelter for victims of trafficking, the Menoyia detention centre for irregular migrants, as well as the Kokkinotrimithia reception centre for asylum seekers.
Further, GRETA visited the Cyprus Police headquarters, the Crime Investigation Unit of Nicosia, and the Immigration Police Station at Larnaca Airport. The delegation also joined in an inspection conducted by the Labour Inspection in Nicosia.
The visit was carried out by Ms Helga Gayer, Second Vice-President of GRETA, and Mr Rudolf Christoffersen, member of GRETA, who were accompanied by Ms Evgenia Giakoumopoulou of the Secretariat of the Convention.
Following the visit, GRETA will prepare a draft report which will be sent to the Cypriot authorities for comments. GRETA will subsequently adopt a final report, to be published in 2020.