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The new EU Strategy on Combating Trafficking in Human Beings focuses on crime prevention, bringing traffickers to justice and protecting and empowering victims.
Speaking at the event, Mario Nava, Director-General of the DG for Structural Reform Support at the European Commission stated that heinous crime of human trafficking has a gender dimension, “When it comes to Turkish Cypriot community, I am very pleased that human trafficking is now considered a crime. However, despite this progress there is still a lot of work to do. There is also a need to improve bi-communal cooperation by exchanging information and learning from each other which also helps to pave the way towards the reunification of the island. What fills me with some optimism is that there are many committed people and organisations in the Turkish Cypriot community determined to continue to combat human trafficking and EU will continue to support these initiatives” said Mr Nava underlining that the EU Strategy on Combatting Trafficking in Human Beings focuses on reducing demand that fosters trafficking, breaking the business model of traffickers, protecting, supporting, and empowering the victims with a specific focus on women and children.
As part of the EU Aid Programme for the Turkish Cypriot community, the European Commission announced a EUR 1 million call for the Turkish Cypriot community in 2018 dedicated to improving the situation on the ground and supporting projects aimed at eradicating human trafficking. Currently, the European Commission is providing financial support to the Human Rights Platform, an association of several civil society organisations, which continues the important work to strengthen multi-stakeholder coalitions to combat trafficking.
Following the opening speech, in the panel discussion moderated by journalist Aysu Basri Akter, Kiersten Strachan from the United States Embassy in Nicosia, Katerina Stephanou from the Step Up Stop Slavery non-governmental organization and Fezile Osum from the Human Rights Platform (IHP) shared information about the current status in relation to human trafficking in Cyprus, projects and studies in the field as well as the steps to be taken for improved coordination and partnerships to address all aspects of human trafficking.
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