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Greece 2013 Trafficking in Persons Report US Department of State

Posted by moodhacker on June 30, 2013 at 3:45 AM


     US  DEPARTMENT OF STATE


trafficking in persons  Report

                

                                       watch out the beggers on your feet:  impossible to imagine the routes and violance to the end of what is humble      


Trafficking in Persons Report 2013

 


GREECE (Tier 2)

Greece is a transit, destination, and a very limited source

country for women and children subjected to sex trafficking

and for men, women, and children in forced labor. Women from

Albania, Belarus, Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Russia,

Romania, Ukraine, Georgia, Nigeria, and some countries

in Asia are subjected to sex trafficking in Greece. Victims

of forced labor identified in Greece, primarily children and

men, are from Albania, Bangladesh, Bulgaria, India, Moldova,

Pakistan, Romania, and increasingly boys from Afghanistan.

 

Victims are subjected to debt bondage in agriculture and

construction. Hundreds of children, mainly Roma from

Albania and Romania, are subjected to forced labor in Greece

and made to sell goods on the street, beg, or commit petty

theft. There was a reported increase in Roma children from

Romania brought to Greece and forced to work. Roma from

Bulgaria are increasingly brought to Greece on the promise

of employment and subjected to forced begging; children are

subjected to forced petty theft. Nigerian women are reportedly

transported through the Aegean islands and through the GreekTurkish border in Evros and instructed to file for asylum as Somalis; they are then subjected to sex trafficking in Athens

and other major cities.

 

Traffickers use voodoo curses, spiritual

traditions, and threats against family to coerce Nigerian

women into exploitation. Traffickers transport victims through

Greece for forced labor and sex trafficking in Italy and other

EU countries. Small numbers of Greek citizens are identified

as victims of trafficking within the country. Asylum seekers

from Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan were vulnerable to debt

bondage imposed by smugglers and trafficking offenders.


Restaurants, nightclubs, yacht rental companies, and other

small businesses serve as money laundering fronts for small

cells of criminal trafficking networks.


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

convicted more trafficking offenders compared to the previous

reporting period and made efforts to train police and the

judiciary on human trafficking issues during the year. While

a lack of proactive investigations continued, there was strong

collaboration between NGOs and anti-trafficking police on

identified cases of trafficking and formal agreements enabled

police to place victims in NGO shelters in spite of a lack of

government funding for victim services. There was a continued

need for long-term care for victims of trafficking and shelter

for male victims. The government did not investigate or

prosecute any public officials for alleged complicity in human

trafficking offenses, even though there were allegations of

low-level police involvement in trafficking.

 


 

Recommendations for Greece: Vigorously prosecute

trafficking offenders, including officials alleged to be complicit

in trafficking; continue to provide training and opportunities

for knowledge sharing within the judiciary to ensure trafficking

offenders are not prosecuted for lesser crimes with lenient

penalties; enhance witness protection for victims and

encourage their participation in investigations and

prosecutions; improve screening for trafficking among asylum

seekers, women in prostitution, and other vulnerable

populations; ensure victims of trafficking are transferred out

of detention to appropriate shelter and protection; increase

the number of official certifications issued to identified victims

of trafficking; encourage sustainable funding for antitrafficking NGOs;

reduce barriers to victims’ pursuit of GREECE 181 restitution or compensation;

ensure access to assistance and

shelter for male victims of trafficking and labor trafficking

victims; ensure all victims are effectively afforded a reflection

period in which to recover before deciding whether to

cooperate with law enforcement; and strengthen the central

authority to coordinate and monitor anti-trafficking efforts

through a mandate of accountability within the interministerial process.

 

Prosecution

The government improved its law enforcement efforts in 2012,

convicting an increased number of trafficking offenders and

providing specialized training for the judiciary; trials, however,

continued to be lengthy—with an average of five years in

duration—discouraging victims’ participation in criminal

proceedings. Greek Law 3064/2002 and Presidential Decree

233/2003 prohibit both sex trafficking and forced labor and

prescribe punishments of up to 10 years’ imprisonment with

fines the equivalent of approximately $14,000 to $70,000.

These penalties are sufficiently stringent and commensurate

with those prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape.

Labor actions and work stoppages by judges, prosecutors, and

judicial officials during the reporting period exacerbated the

problem of already lengthy trials, delaying efforts to hold

trafficking offenders accountable. Prohibitively high court fees

for victims to retain competent counsel also hampered efforts

to bring cases to trial. There were reports of courts failing to

provide interpretation services for trafficking cases and of

weak witness protection efforts. The anti-trafficking police

investigated 46 human trafficking cases in 2012, compared

to 41 cases in 2011. Six investigations were for forced begging

or labor. In 2012, the government prosecuted 177 defendants

for human trafficking, a decrease from 220 in 2011 and 246

in 2010. Of these, 23 were prosecuted for labor trafficking.

The government convicted 27 traffickers and acquitted 16,

compared to 19 convictions and 14 acquittals in 2011. The

resulting sentences ranged from one to 15 years’ imprisonment.

Courts frequently reduced charges against trafficking offenders

to pimping, imposing more lenient penalties of up to five

years’ imprisonment and enabling traffickers to avoid jail

time through payment of fines.

Police academies continued to provide anti-trafficking training,

incorporating survivors’ voices to promote increased sensitivity.

The police maintained strong international collaboration on

transnational anti-trafficking investigations and coordinated

with Italy, Romania, Russia, Albania, and Bulgaria on

trafficking cases. In one such case, 16 Romanians were held

in forced labor picking oranges under debt bondage for their

smuggling journey, having to pay rent to live in a decrepit barn

and forced to buy food from the traffickers at exorbitant prices.

High turnover in the anti-trafficking police unit reduced its

effectiveness of investigations and NGOs reported that police

did not conduct proactive investigations, although police

improved efforts in responding to solid leads provided by

the public.

NGOs reported wide variation between judges’

individual knowledge of trafficking and sensitivity in court

to victims’ symptoms of trauma. There were some reports of

corruption among local police and vice officers, who accepted

small bribes from traffickers or patronized establishments

involved in human trafficking. Despite these reports, the

Government of Greece did not report any investigations

or prosecutions of public officials for alleged complicity in

trafficking-related offenses during the reporting period.

 

Protection

The government maintained very modest efforts to protect

victims of trafficking during the year, despite continued

austerity measures. NGOs did not receive any government

funding to serve victims of trafficking. The government

continued to provide services to victims of trafficking through

public health services, a short-term shelter and processing center

for victims of trafficking and other forms of abuse, and two

long-term shelters. Thirty-four victims stayed in government

shelters during the reporting period. Other shelters serving

victims of trafficking were run by faith-based NGOs with

support from international donors. Victims had the freedom to

come and go from shelters. Some small domestic NGOs closed

during the reporting period due to lack of funding. Long-term

care for victims of trafficking was lacking and there was no

shelter available for men. Child victims were served in the

government short-term shelter, facilities for unaccompanied

minors, orphanages, or in separate units of adult detention

centers. Many asylum seekers, including unaccompanied

child migrants, were held in substandard facilities and were

not assessed for protection needs, leaving them vulnerable to

human trafficking. NGOs reported police and immigration

officials screened arriving migrants for potential trafficking,

but the screenings were poorly implemented and lacked

appropriate translation. The government identified 94 victims

in 2012, of whom 25 were subjected to forced labor or begging,

compared to 97 total victims identified in 2011. Only eight

victims, however, received official certification allowing them

access to government-provided care. Seventeen women and

seven girls were served in government or NGO shelters and

22 victims received repatriation services. Victims who do not

stay in shelters have access to legal services, psychological care,

and basic social services. Formal agreements between NGOs

and law enforcement enabled the government to transfer

victims from law enforcement custody to various shelters.

The government provided training on identifying victims

of trafficking to border police, coast guard, and vice police.

NGOs reported positive cooperation with police and the antitrafficking unit but stressed that victim identification continues

to be an area that should be improved. The government did not

effectively screen women in prostitution to identify indicators

of human trafficking.

The government issued new temporary residency permits

to 56 foreign victims of trafficking in 2012, which afforded

them the right to obtain employment in Greece—though

employment opportunities were scarce. Advocates from NGOs

accompanied victims to court to provide them emotional

support; however, many victims were unwilling to testify due

to fear of traffickers’ retribution or their desire to return home

before the conclusion of lengthy criminal proceedings. While

victims are permitted to file civil suits against traffickers, the

high costs and protracted delays involved in processing these

suits deterred victims from pursuing restitution or damages.

There were no reports of victims being prosecuted for acts

committed as a result of their being trafficked during the year.

NGOs reported that authorities temporarily placed victims of

labor trafficking in jail due to lack of shelter. The government

did not effectively grant victims of trafficking a reflection

period, time in which to recover before deciding whether to

cooperate with law enforcement, and often ordered foreign

victims deported.

Prevention

The government maintained its prevention efforts through

an anti-trafficking public awareness campaign on national

television and radio stations, targeting potential victims of

human trafficking. The campaign encouraged victims to seek

help and informed them of their rights and available assistance

regardless of victims’ cooperation with authorities. The

campaign also raised awareness and sensitized the public to the

issue of human trafficking, and highlighted victim protection

and punishment for traffickers. The government did not

demonstrate efforts to reduce the demand for commercial sex

acts or forced labor. Despite growing anti-immigrant sentiment,

authorities distributed cards printed in multiple languages

with information on how to seek help to potential victims

at border checkpoints and in immigration detention centers.

In cooperation with UNHCR, the government distributed a

booklet in Greek and English to front-line responders with

guidelines on the protection of women and girls in the asylum

process who are at risk of trafficking. In cooperation with

UNICEF, the government ran public awareness campaigns on

child sex trafficking. The government continued to implement

the national action plan against human trafficking; however,

the government lacked a central coordinating mechanism

to measure accountability for actions to be taken under that

plan. The government did not demonstrate efforts to reduce

the demand for forced labor during the reporting period.

 

 

Categories: Greece and the USA, Greece in Europe, Trafficking through Greece Cross- life- Roads

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