Last Updated: Monday, 01 September 2014, 14:30 GMT

Trafficking in Persons Report 2009 - Greece

Publisher United States Department of State
Publication Date 16 June 2009
Cite as United States Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report 2009 - Greece, 16 June 2009, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4a4214b832.html [accessed 2 September 2014]
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)

Greece is a destination and transit country for women and children trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation and for men and children trafficked for the purpose for forced labor. Women and teenage girls were trafficked from Bulgaria, Romania, Albania, other parts of Eastern Europe and the Balkans, Nigeria, and Brazil into forced prostitution and forced labor. One NGO reported that there were many teenage male sex trafficking victims from Afghanistan and sub-Saharan Africa in Greece. Victims of trafficking for labor exploitation originated primarily from Albania, Romania, Moldova, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh and most were forced to work in the agriculture or construction sectors. Child labor trafficking victims were subjected to forced begging and forced to engage in petty crimes. Some victims are found among the approximately 1,000 unaccompanied minors who enter Greece yearly. Several NGOs reported anecdotal evidence that Roma women and children were trafficked within Greece. There was also anecdotal evidence of trafficking in the domestic service sector.

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. The government increased overall funding toward victim protection, and specialized anti-trafficking police demonstrated strong law enforcement efforts, but the government lacked sufficient progress in punishing trafficking offenders, proactively identifying victims, providing reliable shelter facilities for trafficking victims, and specifically targeting domestic audiences with prevention campaigns.

Recommendations for Greece: Ensure that convicted trafficking offenders receive adequate punishments that deter exploitation of additional victims; vigorously investigate and prosecute offenses of officials complicit in trafficking; improve tracking of anti-trafficking law enforcement data to include information on sentences served; continue victim identification and assistance training for officials most likely to encounter labor and sex trafficking victims; encourage the sustainability of funding for anti-trafficking NGOs; ensure specialized protection for potential child victims; ensure potential victims are offered options for care and immigration relief available under Greek law; and strengthen public awareness campaigns targeted to a Greek audience, including potential clients of the sex trade and beneficiaries of forced labor.

Prosecution

Greece's specialized anti-trafficking police officers demonstrated strong law enforcement efforts, but concerns over inadequate punishment of trafficking offenders, including officials complicit in trafficking, remained. Greek law 3064, adopted in 2002, prohibits trafficking for both sexual exploitation and forced labor, and prescribes imprisonment of up to 10 years and a fine of $14,000 to $70,000. These penalties are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with those prescribed for other grave crimes. Many trafficking-related statistics, such as the total number of trafficking prosecutions and suspended sentences of convicted trafficking offenders, were unavailable. According to available data, law enforcement arrests of suspected trafficking offenders increased from 121 in 2007 to 162 in 2008. Police conducted 37 sex trafficking investigations, two labor trafficking investigations and one investigation of trafficking for the removal of human organs. The government reported 21 convictions of trafficking offenders, 17 acquittals, and 41 ongoing prosecutions during 2008. Sentences for the 21 convicted offenders ranged from one year to almost 17 years' imprisonment, and many sentences also included fines, though many convicted trafficking offenders continued to be released pending lengthy appeals processes. Greek courts, especially at the appeals level, often give convicted trafficking offenders suspended sentences. Several former government officials, including an ex-mayor charged with trafficking complicity in 2005, were given suspended sentences during the year. Three police officers allegedly involved in the rape of a victim while she was in police custody in 2006 remained on bail while awaiting prosecution on charges of breach of duty, abuse of authority, repeated rape, and complicity in rape. During the last year, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs completed investigations of several officials suspected of involvement in a trafficking networksted belowlar officials then transfer him and some of his staff. I thought the way we phrased it wa but found no evidence of trafficking complicity.

Protection

The government demonstrated uneven efforts to improve victim protection during the reporting period. Inadequate measures to identify trafficking victims and provide appropriate shelter were the government's greatest limitations in combating human trafficking, according to local observers. The government trafficking shelter in Athens closed for several months and later re-opened during the reporting period. The government increased funding specifically directed toward assistance for trafficking victims by 32 percent, but delays in government funding of anti-trafficking NGOs hindered their effectiveness and as a result two NGO trafficking shelters closed down. The government encouraged trafficking victims to participate in investigations or prosecutions of trafficking offenders through a law that provides for a 30-day reflection period, but according to NGOs, authorities did not always provide the reflection period in practice. The government provided trafficking victims who assisted the government in prosecutions with temporary, renewable residence permits and access to social services and healthcare after the government certified victim status. It provided inconsistent access to longer term shelter options for victims through intermittent funding to NGOs. Health officials providing care to people in Greece's regulated sex trade lacked sufficient training on victim identification and protection of trafficking victims. In 2008, Human Rights Watch, the UNHCR, the Council of Europe's Commissioner for Human Rights, and multiple domestic NGOs criticized Greece for failing to ensure that victim identification procedures were used by border police, the coast guard, and the vice squad. Greece's specialized anti-trafficking police exhibited adequate victim identification procedures, though NGOs noted that trafficking victims were far more likely to be first encountered by personnel of other Greek law enforcement agencies that did not have the same skill in identifying victims. Anti-trafficking police made efforts to address this problem through training and dissemination of awareness materials for border and vice squad authorities. Officials identified 78 trafficking victims in 2008, compared to 100 identified in 2007. NGOs and international organizations reported assisting at least 657 victims in 2008. NGOs reported excellent cooperation with the specialized anti-trafficking police unit and lauded a memorandum of cooperation between the government and NGOs, but potential victims remained vulnerable to arrest for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked. The Greek government in 2008 ratified a child repatriation agreement with Albania that had been drafted in 2004, but implementation has been slow. The government has few special protections in place for child victims of trafficking; when identified, they were often sheltered in orphanages or detention centers that did not have specialized facilities for trafficking victims.

Prevention

The government conducted general anti-trafficking awareness campaigns during the reporting period but insufficiently targeted potential clients of the sex trade or beneficiaries of forced labor in Greece. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) funded several prevention initiatives, including a hotline for potential victims and an extensive joint campaign with UNICEF focused on global child trafficking. The government also funded the production of public awareness posters and information cards printed in multiple languages alerting potential victims to government resources. In 2008, the MFA created a new working-level task force on combating trafficking to complement the high-level Inter-ministerial Task Force on Human Trafficking. The government funded training and seminars on trafficking awareness for various government officials. Greek law has extraterritorial coverage for child sex tourism. The Greek government gave its peacekeeping troops explicit anti-trafficking training before deploying them abroad. Greece has not ratified the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.

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