Last Updated: Monday, 30 May 2016, 14:07 GMT

U.S. Department of State 2005 Trafficking in Persons Report - Greece

Publisher United States Department of State
Author Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
Publication Date 3 June 2005
Cite as United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2005 Trafficking in Persons Report - Greece, 3 June 2005, available at: [accessed 30 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 destination country for women, men, and children trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labor. Most victims come from Eastern Europe and the Balkans, some transit to other EU countries. Although the number of identified Roma and Albanian child victims decreased, they continued to be trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor. Various sources noted a possible new trend of African women trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation.

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 is placed on Tier 2 Watch List for a second consecutive year for its failure to show evidence of increasing efforts to combat trafficking, particularly in the area of victim protection and assistance. The government failed to complete an agreement with Albania on child protection and its results on increasing the number of convicted traffickers were inadequate during the reporting period. The government, however, demonstrated commitment to address trafficking by appointing a new coordinator, implementing a new action plan, and allocating significant resources for victim assistance. The government must develop an effective screening and referral process to prevent the involuntary detention and deportation of victims and consider the important role NGOs could play in this process. As previously suggested, a large-scale targeted demand reduction campaign would strengthen domestic anti-trafficking efforts.


In 2004, the Greek Government showed limited progress in the enforcement of its anti-trafficking laws. The government conducted a number of anti-trafficking raids, charged 352 perpetrators, and successfully dismantled several criminal rings operating in Greece. During 2004, the government appointed two special anti-trafficking prosecutors and reported 94 prosecutions under the 2002 anti-trafficking law. Conviction rates, however, remained disproportionally low – the government reported a few convictions during the year. Notably, the courts handed down significant sentences in many of those cases and convicted the first traffickers under the government's 2002 law. Some local police continued to participate in and facilitate trafficking. In 2004, the government took some punitive action against police complicity in trafficking.


The government made some progress in protecting victims of trafficking in 2004. The government took important preliminary steps to improve protection by allowing foreign victims the opportunity to obtain residence and work permits- at least 24 permits were issued in 2004. However, potential trafficking victims without legal status continued to be inappropriately arrested and deported; many potential victims possessing legal status were not screened or recognized as having been trafficked. The government allowed only limited NGO access to potential victims in detention facilities. Notably, in 2004, Greece provided over three million Euros to NGOs to provide assistance to trafficked victims, opened three new government shelters and contributed to the operation of four NGO shelters. As of February 2005, the new Athens shelter had not received any referrals, however victims continued to be assisted in NGO shelters. Police were issued instructions to reinforce techniques of identification and assistance, but lack of a adequate referral mechanism continued to result in widely inconsistent, ad hoc referrals. The government also failed to conclude the long-awaited protocol with Albania on the return of child victims. In 2004, the government identified 181 victims of trafficking; 46 of the 181 victims received state and NGO assistance and protection. A special prosecutor issued an order to suspend deportation for 25 victims. NGOs reported that a lack of victim witness protection resulted in harm to some victims while trials were pending.


In 2004, the Greek Government launched a national victim's hotline and in 2005 co-sponsored anti-trafficking trainings on implementation of its trafficking law. In November 2004, the government sponsored a conference that brought together law enforcement officers from throughout Greece and Eastern Europe to share best practices. It continued to fund anti-trafficking awareness campaigns via NGOs in 2004, some aspects of which targeted clients. As part of its preparations for the 2004 Olympic games, the government readied for a possible increased in trafficking through extensive police patrols, training, and established a legal aid program. Further, the government provided resources to NGOs to conduct street assessments, which led to the identification and repatriation of six trafficked children.

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