KISA stood by the victim right from the beginning of the rape case of the young tourist in Ayia Napa. In cooperation with the Justice Abroad organisation, we contributed to her legal representation in the court procedures that had already been put in motion against her, after the mishandling of the rape complaint by the law enforcement authorities and the office of the Attorney General.
Also, in cooperation and the direct involvement of KISA’s members in the Network Against Violence against Women, we have contributed to bringing to the fore the gendered dimension of the case and the patriarchal power structures in our society, including of the judiciary.
As many thousands of school leavers in Europe, the young woman sought an opportunity to combine her summer holidays with a summer job before starting her university studies. In this effort, she found a European online company, which announced on its website that «Finding your dream job in one of our amazing resorts couldn’t be easier when you travel with …….Summer Takeover. Our experienced reps are there to guide you every step of the way to ensure that you find your dream summer work”.
When she arrived in Cyprus last July she found herself trapped in a very different and difficult to manage reality to the one promised to her by the company and that presented by Pambos Magic Rocks complex of Ayia Napa on its website. The facilities were in terrible condition, there was direct and constant violence and systematic insecurity. Photographs uploaded by tenants demonstrated that the owners of the complex knowingly falsified reality. Instead of finding safe lodgings, a job and a supporting context when she arrived at the complex, she was given a wristband with which she had access to free drinks around the clock as a mechanism of familiarising herself with the environment. No one knows how many drinks and what else these were accompanied with, as the wristband served as her identifier. This framework most certainly led to the weakening of young persons and inhibiting their resistance to potential violence, use of substances, abuse and maltreatment.
In August 2014, a British teenager of Cypriot background SavvakisAlexandros Georgiou, a footballer of Stevenage FC, drowned in the early hours of the morning in the swimming pool of Kalypso Pambos Magic Hotel. The teenager was partying with at least 20 other young persons who, because of the condition of the place and the condition they were in themselves did not realise their friend’s drowning.
Since 2014 there have been hundreds of reports and complaints for abuse and maltreatment, thefts, harassment, rape attempts, disturbance, fraud as well as continuous calls for closing down the complex, but to no avail.
In June 2019, an 18-year old staying at the Pambos Napa Rocks Hotel with ten other young friends stated that «I was woken up to a man on top of me (who had broken into the room through the balcony door) … and attempting to rape me. I managed to get away. As I was in shock my friends reported this to reception- they couldn’t care less and was unbothered saying it had nothing to do with them”.
In November 2016, a young woman from Britain who stayed at this complex with a friend reported that her «holidays from hell» included used condoms lying on the floor in public areas, sperm floating on the surface of the swimming pool, couples having sex publicly in the white and cloudy swimming pool, dirty boxers and thongs hanging from bushes …
Στην καταγγελία της τον Οκτώβριο 2019, another young British woman who also booked a room at the same hotel for herself and a friend, refers to the room they were given as «worse than a cell …, the bathroom was dirty, mouldy and the paint hanging off the ceiling!! The tiles were thrown up, … and the sheets … were stained». She closes her report with the following: «If your young and all you want to do is get drunk, take drugs and party all night, then this place is ideal for you, but if not stay away at all costs!!!!”
In August 2019, a young male tourist reported that he and a friend were assaulted by five men security staff of the club at the hotel. After the assault, the young men were thrown out of the hotel and were made to pay a fine of 100 euro.
KISA is of the opinion that the law enforcement authorities have, once again, failed to take into serious consideration information and complaints of tenants and others and to proceed promptly and to effectively deal with these offences. Once again, they also focused on the investigation of the rape complaint as an “isolated incident”, which resulted in overlooking and concealing the framework that has been methodically formulated and developed targeting the financial and sexual exploitation of young people, especially young women, who come to Cyprus for holiday and temporary jobs.
Trafficking and sexual exploitation of women has altered in Europe, with the traffickers finding new methods of the “willing” participation of victims in their exploitation. KISA calls on the Office of Combating Trafficking in Ηuman Beings of the police to investigate the framework of attracting and exploitation of these young persons.
We also call on the Deputy Ministry of Tourism to inform us whether this tourist complex, operating in this particular form and under this framework, has ever being monitored and granted the relevant licenses.
KISA calls on everyone to participate in the event of solidarity with the young British woman at the Famagusta District Court, on Tuesday, 7 January 2020, at 08:30.