Last Updated: Friday, 27 May 2016, 08:49 GMT

U.S. Department of State 2004 Trafficking in Persons Report - Greece

Publisher United States Department of State
Author Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
Publication Date 14 June 2004
Cite as United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2004 Trafficking in Persons Report - Greece, 14 June 2004, available at: [accessed 27 May 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Greece (Tier 2 Watch List)

Greece is a country of transit and destination for women, men, and children trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labor. Most victims come from Eastern European countries and the former Soviet Union, including Ukraine, Russia, Moldova, Bulgaria, Albania and Romania. Women from many other countries were trafficked to Greece, in some cases transiting on to Cyprus, Turkey and the Middle East. Albanian children make up the majority of children trafficked for forced labor and petty crimes, including begging and stealing.

The Government of Greece does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Greece was reassessed as Tier 2 in September 2003 after releasing significant funds to NGOs for prevention and assistance, and taking targeted law enforcement actions. It is placed on Tier 2 Watch List this year for failure to finalize promised actions, most notably regarding protection. The government should fully implement the Presidential Decree to cease the detention and removal of victims and should finalize the protocol with Albania on the return of child victims.


Greek Law 3064/2002 criminalizes trafficking in persons for sexual exploitation and forced labor, with penalties commensurate with that for other grave crimes, such as rape. In 2003, the government reported arresting 284 alleged traffickers, rescuing 93 potential victims, and securing 69 criminal convictions on trafficking-related charges. No convictions were yet reported under Law 3064 and sentences under related charges were not reported. Notable arrests focused on sex trafficking rings involving adult and minor victims in sexual exploitation. The Athens City Council reported closing a bar due to the owner's involvement in trafficking. Some police took bribes from traffickers and patronized establishments implicated in trafficking. With the prosecution's dismissal of its case against a police officer accused of having sexual relations with a trafficked woman, the government reported no actions against government officials.


The government's legal mandate on victim protection stems from Presidential Decree 233/2003, signed in August 2003. The government provided the equivalent of $1.4 million to Greek and foreign NGOs for protection programs, but the implementation of the Presidential Decree had not progressed to the point of providing residency for victims illegally present in Greece. Lack of status severely hampered NGO ability to fulfill the Presidential Decree's mandate for victim services. The government reported releasing approximately 300 victims in anti-trafficking raids, and one NGO shelter reported assisting 30 victims. Because the government could not provide status, and because it did not conclude a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with NGOs on victim assistance and referral, police made ad hoc referrals for victims with legal status only. Police cooperation with NGOs for adult victims with legal status improved, but child victims over the age of 13 were subject to mandatory removal from Greece as unaccompanied minors. These removals were not coordinated with source countries. Despite earlier plans to do so, the government had not yet amended its policy for removals to Albania. The police produced a multi-lingual "know-your-rights" leaflet for victims which was distributed to police stations throughout the country.


While the Ministry of Health was formally tasked with anti-trafficking coordination, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs informally coordinated anti-trafficking policy through an inter- agency task force. Part of the government's funding to NGOs was targeted to prevention programs, but there were no demand-oriented prevention activities. The government funded the production of an informational leaflet aimed at the general public, as well as media announcements on the trafficking of women and children. Some medical students used government-funded leaflets on trafficking when conducting their sexual education courses at secondary schools.

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