Thursday, May 24, 2012

Trapping Sundance and a Cat in a Bag, Human Trafficking in Cyprus?

We hadn't planned on trapping Sunday night, simply because with Arsenoe's emergency last week, and Starlight's kittens coming out of the cupboard and starting to equal cats, and an untotalled number of unforeseen disappointments over the weekend, we were exhausted, possibly emotionally more than physically, which was a lot. 

You can make plans in Cyprus, but whether the other parties involved will honor their commitments, only God knows.

Not everyone in Cyprus is like this.  But I would say most people here are like this.  And it is not just Cypriots, no;  it is a disease seeming to spread like wildfire among the expats as well. 

Sunday night, at our house, Sundance, a rare visitor, showed up for a late dinner.  Nik having been dissappointed in his plans so many times over the weekend, was very motivated to accomplish something toward our goals.  So when he spotted Sundance, he got the trap ready without hesitation.  I went inside.

NIk readied the trap for a rare visitor, Sundance

It was about 15 minutes later that I heard the characteristic scramblings of a trapped cat.

Sundance after trapping

When I went downstairs and outside, Nik was gently securing the door of the shed, where Sundance was safely tucked away to spend the night.

Sundance stayed over

Then Nik went inside. I cannot remember what chore I was involved in when a desperate and tired looking young man on foot stopped at our front gate.  He asked for help and told me his story.

He was brought here from another country (I won't name), along with 24 others to work.  After two months he and the others had never been paid.  They were fed tea and biscuits twice a day.  When they began to complain and threatened to go to the police, their manager laughed and told them to go ahead, that the police would do nothing.  So they all left and went their own ways.  He had walked all the way from Paphos.  He slept in parks, picked fruit off trees, and asked for odd jobs for food and cash along the way, washing cars, light gardening, etc.  He said he had 40 cents in his pocket, his foot was infected.  He had been to the police, called on his own embassy, the Cypriot embassy, and no one would help him.

We got him some antiseptic and bandages for his foot and we watched as he dressed it.  We got him something to eat and something warmer to wear.  We gave him the phone so he could call his mom. Meanwhile we called everyone we could think of for help.

Eventually, we scraped up enough resources to put him on a plane to his father who had work in yet another country (I won't name), and Nik took him to the airport.

About two years ago I was on YouTube and one video led me to another and somehow I ended up in the subject of human trafficking.  I was surprised later to learn how common it is in Cyprus.  Nik told me what he knew about it.

One of the videos I watched I can never forget, because the verbiage was so alarming and distasteful.  It was undercover footage and audio of a woman selling a human being to a third party.

As the woman was angling for a higher price, this is what they caught her on hidden camera as saying: "I am handing you a cat in a bag." 

A cat in a bag.  That is what I can never forget.

I don't know if technically this young man was human trafficked or not, because he still had his passport, and I don't know anything about the legal definition.  And we can't even say whether his story was true, but we couldn't take a chance that it wasn't. What we do know is he was in really bad shape, and Cyprus wasn't doing him any favors. 

Christina, our vet, thought Sundance was a very fine specimen of a cat.  She said he was in great condition.  She also said he was one of the most feral cats they have altered. 

Christina brings out Sundance for his trip back to Larnaca
We think he's handsome, too  :)
Sundance just before his release

When we released Sundance Monday night, he did not stop to eat, pass go, or collect $200.00.  We will keep our eyes out for him.  Please join us in wishing him a long, safe happy life and lots of love.  You are always welcome at our house, Sundance.  Godspeed.

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