Greece (Tier 2)
Greece is a transit and destination country for women and children trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labor. Women are trafficked mostly from Russia, the Balkans, Romania, Bulgaria, and Nigeria for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor. Women are also trafficked from Ukraine, Moldova, and Belarus. Some Albanian men are trafficked to Greece for forced labor. Most children trafficked from Albania to Greece are trafficked for forced labor, including forced begging and petty crimes; some are trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation. The number of identified trafficked Albanian children declined in 2006.
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. In 2006, Greece allocated more than $1 million for victim assistance and trafficking prevention programs both domestically and in source countries. The government also significantly increased trafficking investigations, prosecutions, and convictions. Despite these improvements, serious concerns remain with regard to current victim identification and protection. Some victims were reportedly prosecuted and incarcerated in detention centers. NGOs should be permitted greater access to all deportation centers to screen for trafficking victims. Authorities should forge stronger collaborative relationships with NGOs, drawing on NGOs' expertise in identifying victims. The government should continue to provide trafficking sensitivity training for judicial authorities to improve the treatment victims receive in court, and it should take steps to ensure that traffickers receive increased sentences. The Memorandum of Cooperation, signed by the government and NGOs in 2005, should be expanded to include more anti-trafficking NGOs and should clarify the role of NGOs and the services available to victims. The government should also increase efforts to compile reliable trafficking statistics.
Greece significantly increased its law enforcement efforts during the reporting period. Greek law 3064, adopted in 2002, prohibits trafficking for both sexual exploitation and forced labor. Penalties prescribed for trafficking include imprisonment of up to 10 years and a fine of $13,000 to $65,000. These penalties are commensurate with those for other grave crimes, such as sexual assault, and are sufficiently stringent. In 2006, police conducted 70 trafficking investigations, up from 60 in 2005, and arrested 206 suspected traffickers, up from 202 arrests in 2005. Authorities conducted 49 prosecutions and obtained convictions of 78 traffickers in 2006, a marked increase from the 9 convictions obtained in 2005. However, sentences imposed on convicted traffickers remained weak; moreover, the majority of convicted traffickers remain free on bail for five to six years while their convictions are appealed. During the reporting period, at least three traffickers were given sentences ranging from 12 to 19 years' imprisonment.
Greece demonstrated modest progress in its overall efforts to protect trafficking victims. Victim identification continued to be a problem; only 83 trafficking victims were identified by government authorities in 2006, a significant decrease from 137 victims identified in 2005. According to NGO estimates, 13,000 to 14,000 victims are in Greece at any given time. The government continued to implement formal procedures for the identification of victims among vulnerable populations. Based on their November 2005 Memorandum of Cooperation with NGOs, police referred 39 victims to state-run shelters. Some of these eventually moved to NGO-run shelters, where, in 2006, a total of 37 victims received aid, compared to 19 victims in 2005. However, shelters remain underutilized. Concerns remain that victims not officially identified by prosecutors or police remain vulnerable to deportation; in 2006, only 34 of the 83 victims identified received full victim status and 15 victims were granted residence permits. Although the government allocated and dispersed funding to approximately 13 NGOs for victim assistance and rehabilitation, some NGOs reported difficulty in actually receiving the full funding promised. While there were reports of victims being penalized or prosecuted during the reporting period for acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked, some Greek prosecutors waived prosecution of trafficking victims. This year all 83 identified victims assisted in investigations, an improvement over last year.
The Government of Greece continued its significant efforts to prevent trafficking and raise awareness. The Secretariat General for Gender Equality completed a national awareness campaign targeting commercial sex procurers, trafficking victims, and citizens. The government distributed IOM and government-produced information cards at ports of entry to alert potential victims about available law enforcement resources; the cards were printed in Greek, English, Russian, and Romanian. The government allocated approximately $600,000 for a prevention project in Albania that will be conducted for the next three years. The government also continued to support NGOs in source countries that conduct trafficking prevention work. Greece has not ratified the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.
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