The decision by the Cypriot government to ratify the Forced Labour Protocol brings to seven, the number of European Union member States to do so.

It builds on the continuous efforts made by Cyprus to improve national anti-slavery laws, policies and strategies, including those relating to the training of labour inspectors.

“Given the magnitude of modern slavery in all its forms, it was important for our government to ratify the ILO Forced Labour Protocol, a labour standard of key strategic importance,” said Zeta Emilianidou, Minister of Labour, Welfare and Social Insurance of the Republic of Cyprus.

“To complement the existing legislative, institutional and administrative framework, we are preparing an Action Plan to give full effect to the provisions of the Forced Labour Protocol, mobilizing the necessary resources and stakeholders to achieve this,” she added.

In 2014, Cyprus strengthened its existing legal and institutional framework on combatting trafficking in persons through the adoption of a new law. It reinforced the protection of victims by giving them the right to compensation, as well as immunity from prosecution if they were forced to commit a crime as a direct consequence of being trafficked.

The current National Action Plan (NAP) against Trafficking in Human Beings builds on the provisions of a European Parliament directive on trafficking in persons, adopted in 2011. Focusing on coordination, prevention, identification of victims, victims’ protection and assistance, as well as prosecution, the NAP includes practical measures and actions which must be implemented within specified timeframes.