GREECE (Tier 2)

Greece is a transit and destination country for women and children who are subjected to trafficking in persons, specifically forced prostitution and for children, men, and women who are in conditions of forced labor. The government and NGOs report that female sex trafficking victims originate primarily in Eastern Europe, the Balkans, and Nigeria. One NGO reported that teenage males, typically unaccompanied minors from Afghanistan and sub-Saharan Africa, are forced into prostitution in Greece. Greek police reported the trend of traffickers increasingly using emotional abuse and financial harm as tools of coercion, instead of physical force, in attempts to evade law enforcement prosecution. Forced labor victims found in Greece originated primarily in Albania, Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh, and many were forced to work in the agriculture or construction sectors in debt bondage. Greek police estimated that there are likely hundreds of forced labor victims in Greece. NGOs reported that children, mainly Roma from Albania, Bulgaria, and Romania, were forced to sell small items, beg, or steal. The approximately 1,000 unaccompanied foreign minors who enter Greece yearly are highly vulnerable to human trafficking.

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 made clear progress in prosecuting labor and sex trafficking offenses, identifying victims, implementing a child victim protection agreement with Albania, and in advancing prevention activities. Concerns remained about a trafficking-related police complicity case, inadequate victim identification among coast guard, border police, and vice police as well as inadequate funding for anti-trafficking NGOs.

Recommendations for Greece: Vigorously prosecute officials complicit in trafficking; continue efforts to equip and train officials most likely to encounter trafficking victims, such as the coast guard and border police, in trafficking victim identification and assistance procedures; encourage the sustainability of funding for anti-trafficking NGOs; ensure potential victims are offered assistance and deportation relief available under Greek law and not penalized for crimes committed as a direct result of being trafficked; ensure specialized assistance for child victims and adequate protection for male victims; establish a central authority to coordinate and monitor anti-trafficking efforts; and continue public awareness campaigns targeted toward a Greek audience, including potential clients of the sex trade and beneficiaries of forced labor.


The government demonstrated clear progress in its prosecution of trafficking offenders, though a high-profile case of trafficking-related complicity remained pending in court. Greek law 3064/2002 and Presidential Decree 233/2003 prohibit trafficking for both sexual and labor exploitation, and prescribe 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 serious crimes such as rape. The police conducted 66 human trafficking investigations in 2009, a 65 percent increase over the 40 investigations in 2008. Fourteen of the new investigations involved forced labor, compared with only two in 2008. The government reported 32 new convictions of trafficking offenders, 12 cases acquitted, and 42 ongoing prosecutions in 2009, compared with 21 convictions, 17 acquittals, and 41 ongoing prosecutions in 2008. The average sentence for trafficking offenders was approximately 11 years with fines. The Ministry of Justice reported two suspended sentences in 2009. Some convicted trafficking offenders continued to be granted bail pending their lengthy appeals, though one NGO reported improvement in this area. The media continued to allege that trafficking-related complicity existed among some local police and vice squad officers. In a case cited in last year's TIP Report, in which a trafficking victim was allegedly raped while in police custody in 2006, the three police officers suspected of the crime remained free on bail as their court case continued. In a positive development in 2009, one active and one retired officer were held without bail pending prosecution for alleged involvement in sex trafficking. The government, in partnership with IOM and NGOs, provided anti-trafficking training for police recruits and commanders, police from neighboring countries, and over 100 judges and prosecutors. In 2009, the Greek police reported cooperation with counterparts in Italy, Romania, Russia, Albania, and Bulgaria on trafficking cases.


The government demonstrated some progress in ensuring that victims of trafficking were provided access to essential services. According to NGOs, however, victim identification continued to be the government's greatest anti-trafficking weakness. The government officially identified 125 victims in 2009, an improvement over the 78 victims identified in 2008. NGOs, some of whom received government funding, reported assisting at least 3,376 trafficking victims in 2009. A formal mechanism exists between police and NGOs to identify and refer victims. The Ministry of Health trained nurses, medical admissions staff, psychologists, psychiatrists, and social workers on the identification of trafficking victims. Similarly, experienced anti-trafficking police continued to provide training to border police, vice police, and the coast guard on victim identification. Greece provided officially-identified trafficking victims with access to legal and medical services through government-run shelters, public healthcare, and intermittent funding to NGOs. NGOs reported that government grant disbursement delays, onerous reporting requirements, and deteriorating public finances have created financial difficulty for trafficking victim service providers dependent on government funding. The government continued to operate a short-term shelter, which could accommodate children, in addition to two long-term shelters for women. The government also referred child victims to orphanages or detention centers that did not have specialized facilities for trafficking victims. One NGO reported that authorities released unaccompanied foreign minors onto the street with little support after detention. The government encouraged victims to participate in prosecutions by offering a 30-day reflection period, a time for victims to receive immediate care while they consider whether to assist law enforcement, but according to NGOs, authorities did not always provide the reflection period consistently during the reporting period. Victims who assisted with law enforcement prosecutions qualified for temporary, renewable residence permits as a legal alternative to removal. NGOs reported excellent cooperation with specialized anti-trafficking police units. Overall, the government did not penalize victims for unlawful acts that may have been committed as a direct result of being trafficked. However, some NGOs reported that the coast guard and border police, overwhelmed with processing refugees and undocumented migrants, had little time to use victim identification procedures. As a result, they sent many potential victims, including vulnerable unaccompanied minors, to migrant detention centers, where they often faced poor conditions. In a positive development, the government implemented a child repatriation agreement with Albania, repatriating six Albanian child victims in cooperation with NGOs.


The government demonstrated steady progress in the prevention of trafficking during the reporting period. A state television station aired a special on human trafficking in Greece in addition to other programs on the topic in 2009. The foreign minister spoke out against trafficking, and since October 2009, anti-trafficking NGOs have reported stronger partnerships with highlevel officials. The foreign ministry provided $155,100 toward a UNICEF campaign on child trafficking as a global phenomenon and funded an IOM-produced public awareness campaign acknowledging trafficking as a problem in Greece. The government did not run any new campaigns targeting the clients of prostitution or beneficiaries of forced labor. The government implemented a law enforcement-focused national plan of anti-trafficking action; however, the government lacked a central authority to coordinate ministries' anti-trafficking efforts and monitor anti-trafficking results. Coordination of data between agencies remained ad hoc. The Greek government facilitated anti-trafficking partnerships by funding initiatives in neighboring countries. Greek law provide extraterritorial jurisdiction over child sex tourism offenses by its nationals; the government did not report any prosecutions of Greek citizens for child sex tourism during the reporting period. The government gave its peacekeeping troops anti-trafficking training before deploying them abroad. The government gave its peacekeeping troops anti-trafficking training before deploying them abroad. Greece is not a party to the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.


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