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Greece

  • 1. GENERAL INFORMATION

    Greece’s efforts to combat human trafficking have evolved as the problem has increased. Until 2001, the legislation for combating human trafficking was not sufficient to confront the phenomenon.

    Enhanced efforts have been made to respond to the problem by taking a holistic approach including legislative reforms, inter-agency coordination, victim protection and awareness raising campaigns. Cooperation with relevant bodies within major international organisations and countries of origin, transit and destination has been strengthened.

    Greece is a transit and destination country for victims trafficked for sexual exploitation and forced labour. Young women are trafficked into Greece from Eastern Europe, the Balkans and Nigeria, mainly for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Male victims of trafficking for labour exploitation originate primarily from Romania and Bulgaria, and are generally trafficked to work in the agriculture and construction sectors or to beg.

    Some victims are also found among the many unaccompanied minors who enter Greece for other European destinations. Trafficked children are forced to beg and to engage in petty crimes.

    In Greece, trafficking in human beings new trends and modus operandi are constantly modified in terms of methodology and recruitment, exploiting vulnerable social groups and taking advantage of new sophisticated technology. Forced labor is a new reality for undocumented migrants smuggled into Greece. Minors involved in begging and petty crime are exploited by members of their family and cases of illegal adoption of infants are a new challenge for all stakeholders involved in counter-trafficking in human beings.

    Since 2002, Greece is implementing the legal framework for combating trafficking. During this period, authorities and civil society have gained significant experience from initiatives and actions on all levels: international, regional and national. There is a growing dynamic in the confronting of trafficking in human beings that is already producing results. During 2009/10, prosecutions rose by 65%, convictions rose by 52%, and protection & assistance for victims identified by the Prosecutor, increased by 60%.

    Trafficking in human beings new trends and modus operandi in Greece are constantly modified in terms of methodology and recruitment, exploiting vulnerable social groups and taking advantage of new sophisticated technology. Forced labor is a new reality for undocumented migrants smuggled into Greece. Minors involved in begging and petty crime are exploited by members of their family and cases of illegal adoption of infants are all new challenges for stakeholders involved in combating trafficking in human beings.

    Greece is predominantly a destination country for trafficked victims. A small number of victims transit to Italy and Central Europe. The overwhelming majority of   victims are trafficked to be sexually and financially exploited. The countries of origin are mostly Eastern Europe  (Russian Federation, Ukraine, Lithuania), SE Europe (Albania, Bulgaria, Romania) and West Africa (mainly Nigeria): Specifically the different routes used by traffickers are:

    • The Balkan Route
      • from Balkans (especially Albania, Bulgaria and Romania) to Slovenia, Hungary, Italy and Greece.
    • The Eastern Route
      • From Russia, Belarus, Baltic Countries to Poland and Central Europe.
    • The Central Europe Route
      • From Ukraine, via Slovakia to Czech Republic and Germany.
    • The Eastern Mediterranean Route
      • From Turkey to Bulgaria, Romania and Greece.
    • The North African Route
      • from Africa to Spain, France, Italy and Malta

    During the years 2008/11, the Hellenic Police data recorded a downturn of the phenomenon in terms of the number of victims requesting police protection. While a considerable decline of incidents of physical violence against women has been noticed, other forms of coercion are applied such as psychological violence, debt bondage etc. Excessive violence is now considered less favorable from criminal networks. A more ‘friendly’ approach is currently adopted, that grants certain ‘concessions’ to victims (some money, a day off, a prospect of earning their freedom once they pay off debts or recruit other victims). In this way, criminals ensure the victim’s consent, making it more difficult for law enforcement authorities and NGOs to promote victim cooperation in view of successful prosecution. The substantial gains of criminal rings are often subsidizing legal businesses, used as a “facade” to divert attention from their illegal activities, as well as to legalize proceeds from criminal activities. Revenues collected by these organizations are “laundered” and are channeled into other illegitimate activities, including arms smuggling, narcotics trafficking and terrorism.          

    Concrete results have been achieved in the field ofProactive law enforcement. The Hellenic Police operates 19 counter-trafficking in human beings task forces throughout Greece. The work of the Hellenic Police is based on large scale national and cross-border operation that is bringing together police task forces, prosecutors, law enforcement officials and N.G.Os, engaging in victim identification, referral, assistance, vigorous investigation and dismantling of criminal networks. Concrete actions include: monitoring the phenomenon; establishing databases/ collection of statistics; screening procedures to identify victims; establishment of shelters; support to victims including legal assistance, granting of residence & work permits, voluntary repatriation; support in the countries of origin; educating police forces; educating law enforcement and judicial authorities; awareness raising campaigns.

    According to statistical information published by the Anti-THB Task Force of the Hellenic Police HQs, the total number of cases investigated by the Police in 2012 was 46, compared to the 41 cases in 2011. From the 46 cases, 39 refer to sexual exploitation, 5 to forced begging, 1 to labour exploitation and 1 case of illegal adoption. The ‘organized crime’ cases in 2012 were 14 (1 case refers to labour exploitation, 1 to forced begging, 1 to illegal adoption and 11 cases of sexual exploitation), which correspond to 30,43% of the total THB cases. The ‘organized crime’ cases in 2011 represented 40% of the total THB cases. Therefore, organized crime figures in 2011 and 2012 are higher compared to 2010 and 2009 (27% & 26 % respectively). This increase demonstrates that over the last two years, THB cases are investigated in a more systematic and comprehensive way, resulting in the dismantling of organized criminal rings.

    Victims

    There has been a slight decrease in the number of identified VoT over 2012 (94 victims in 2012 compared to 97 victims in 2011). Most of the victims originate from Romania (44) and Bulgaria (21), followed by Albania (8) and Russia (8). The female victims are (76), the male victims are (18) and the minor victims are 15 (11 females and 4 males).

    One important new trend derives from the fact that enlarged EU citizenship offers more opportunities to travel and employment within Europe. Traffickers have swiftly responded to this new window of opportunity and a new trend is currently observed whereby VoT are exploited while holding their own valid travel documents. Law enforcement authorities are therefore no longer dealing with the offence of facilitation of an illegal immigrant. On the one hand, this is creating more profits to the trafficker as the cost of THB is significantly reduced. On the other hand, the absence of false documents that had to be forged and obtained in the past, means that pressing charges to the trafficker is made more difficult and the offence of THB is more difficult to substantiate with hard evidence. Victims are mainly recruited through false promises of job placements as housekeepers, nannies, or cleaners. Another new trend is the increasing number of female traffickers (43 female perpetrators in total of 171).Increasingly, women traffickers are playing a pivotal role in mediating and gaining consent of the victim.

    Criminal groups

    The criminal groups who were involved in THB cases in 2012 were mostly citizens of Greece (38), Romania (32), Bulgaria (39) and Albania (33).

    Traffickers usually target impoverished regions that are subjected to harsh social and economic conditions, and take advantage of conditions that have already led to an increase in illegal activity or increased vulnerability of certain ‘risk groups’ of the population.

    The psychological coercion and exploitation of the victims starts with the seizure or removal of their travel documents, thereby creating a dependency on the traffickers by the victim which often will result in her/his compliance and cooperation. The border crossing also provides the trafficker with an additional measure of control, as it increases the victim’s vulnerability and exposes her/him to a wide range of hostile variables (including language) that she/he is not familiar with.

    The main target of traffickers is to earn profit through the long-term exploitation of their victims. This requires them to ‘protect’ their ‘investment’, i.e. to ensure that the victim will continue to ‘work’ as instructed, to not try to escape and generally to keep control over the victim (surveillance, violence, maltreatment, threats). Excessive violence has become less preferable, as in most of the cases traffickers prefer more subtle forms of coercion, principally to blackmail victims through dept bondage.

    A summaty of this text is vailable in the official language of the country.

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  • 2. INSTITUTIONAL AND LEGAL FRAMEWORK

    Legislation

    The specific offence of trafficking in human beings was introduced in 2002 through Law No. 3064/2002, which prohibits trafficking for both sexual exploitation and forced labour. The penalties are commensurate with those prescribed for other grave crimes. The law prescribes imprisonment of up to 10 years and a fine of 10,000 to 50,000 Euros.

    The law prescribes for the assisted voluntary repatriation of trafficking victims who have entered Greece illegally. It also addresses protection for victims, specifying that they must be given legal assistance, shelter and protection to enable them to testify against their captors.

    In order to facilitate criminal proceedings against traffickers of victims who are minors, Law no. 3625/2007 was adopted in 2007.

    Victims of human trafficking are offered a 30-day reflection period, under which the victim may decide whether s/he will participate in criminal proceedings, according toLaw 3386/2005 on the entrance, residence and social integration of third-country nationals in the Greek territory.

    Identified trafficking victims who assist the government in prosecutions are provided with temporary, renewable residence permits, and access to social services and healthcare.

    National Strategy/National Action Plan

    A National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking was adopted in 2005. The Action Plan addresses all levels of counter-trafficking action - prevention, protection and prosecution - in cooperation with international organisations, other governments and NGOs. The National Action Plan includes the following elements:

    • Monitoring the phenomenon 
    • Databases/collection of statistics
    • Screening procedures to identify victims
    • Establishment of shelters
    • Support to victims including legal assistance, granting of residence and work permits, and voluntary repatriation
    • Support in countries of origin
    • Educating police forces; educating law enforcement and judicial authorities
    • Awareness-raising campaigns

    Τhe Government of the Hellenic Republic has gradually created the solid preventive, protective and prosecutorial framework, necessary for confronting and eliminating modern slavery. Greece has enhanced efforts to respond to the problem, including legislative reforms, inter-agency coordination among law enforcement, prosecution and judiciary, extensive protection to the victims, awareness raising campaigns, and systematic prosecution of criminal networks exploiting trafficked victims. We have also strengthened our cooperation with relevant bodies within major international organisations and countries of origin, transit and destination, with encouraging results. The  National Coordination Mechanism will continue focusing on a four-pronged Action Plan with a view to further improve our record in Prosecution, Protection, Prevention and Partnership. We endorse a consistent human rights roadmap, leading to a less strict and more inclusive identification regime for the victim and to more positive results in counter-trafficking.  The Government and Civil Society are cooperating closely in the implementation of a comprehensive National Action Plan (N.A.P.) to combat TIP based on counter-trafficking Laws and on a victim identification regime (a national referral mechanism) ensuring the proper application of victim protection measures.

    Greece ratified one fundamental legal instrument: the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its Protocols – the “Palermo Convention”. Responding to the new commitments deriving from the new EU Directive, the N.A.P. addresses all levels of counter-trafficking action (Prevention, Protection Prosecution) in Partnership with International Organizations, other governments and N.G.Os.

    Namely: monitoring the phenomenon; establishing databases/ collection of statistics; screening procedures to identify victims; establishment of shelters; support to victims including legal assistance, granting of residence & work permits, voluntary repatriation; support in the countries of origin; educating police forces; educating law enforcement and judicial authorities; awareness raising campaigns.

    The Government’s political will is to be among the leading players in the international campaign for confronting modern forms of slavery. Our intention is to impose sentences that will reflect the severity of the crime and deter criminal networks. Indeed, concrete results have been achieved in the field of Proactive law enforcement. The Hellenic Police operates 19 counter-THB task forces throughout Greece. The work of the Hellenic Police is based on large scale national and cross-border operation that is bringing together police task forces, prosecutors, law enforcement officials and N.G.Os, engaging in victim identification, referral, assistance, vigorous investigation and dismantling of criminal networks.

    Under the new European legislation and international conventions, Greece’s “Protection”, approach adopts a set of pro-active measures starting with a more inclusive identification regime for the victim, immediate assistance and protection of the individual, provision of a reflection delay period in which the victim can self actualize and cooperate with the authorities, granting of residence and work permits to pursue a reasonable second chance in life. In short, we provide incentives to thousands of victims who are now suffering in silence and hesitate to reach out for help. This is precisely why our protection system is consolidating a trusting environment, which could persuade more victims to cooperate with the authorities and NGOs.

    In short, some key areas of attention for the 2010-2011 Action Plan, are:

    1. 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, with a view to increase the number of potential victims identified by the government. 
    2. Sustain funding for anti-trafficking NGOs.
    3. 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. 
    4. Ensure specialized assistance for child victims and adequate protection for male victims.
    5. Establish a central authority to coordinate and monitor anti-trafficking efforts (the Office of the National Rapproteur).
    6. Continue public awareness campaigns targeted toward a Greek audience, including potential clients of the sex trade and beneficiaries of forced labor.

    Coordination of anti-trafficking actions at a national level

    A National Coordination Mechanism (NCM) was established in 2009. The NCM is tasked with monitoring and combating trafficking in human beings under the coordination of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

    The NCM coordinates all competent authorities and NGOs working in the field of anti-trafficking. It is also in charge of the planning, implementation and evaluation of counter-trafficking activities on a national basis as well as promoting and coordinating international cooperation.

    The NCM is currently working on:

    • The establishment of two databases; one for trafficking victims and one covering criminal investigations and convictions
    • Supporting the Police Trafficking in Persons task force operations with a view to identifying more victims and increasing the number of penal investigations and convictions
    • Promoting the participation of non-governmental organisations to the same end
    • Promoting awareness campaigns in collaboration with local, regional and international mass media 

    National Rapporteur or equivalent mechanisms

    The Greek government has not appointed a National Rapporteur or equivalent mechanism. However, the establishment of a National Rapporteur has been proposed by a Special Legal Drafting Committee.  

  • 3. IMPLEMENTATION OF ANTI-TRAFFICKING POLICY

    Prevention

    The Greek government has conducted general anti-trafficking awareness campaigns. During 2008 and 2009, the following activities were undertaken:

    • The Hellenic National Committee for UNICEF and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs jointly promoted an awareness-raising campaign against child trafficking. The campaign included:
      • An anti-trafficking handbook for parliamentarians and opinion leaders entitled “Combating child trafficking”;
      • The true stories of seven victims of child trafficking, narrated by popular TV newscasters of the major TV stations in the country;
      • A one day radio marathon with the participation of all radio stations in  the country;
      • An outdoor advertising campaign at 120 bus stop points;
      • Anti-trafficking material sent to 20,000 recipients
    • The government funded the production of public awareness posters and information cards printed in multiple languages alerting potential victims of trafficking. These were distributed to schools, public transportation, municipalities, prefectures, schools, universities, public transportation, and Athens airport.
    • The government funded training and seminars on trafficking awareness for various government officials, including for its peacekeeping troops before deployment abroad.
    • The International Organisation for Migration Athens (IOM Athens), under the aegis of the Ministry of Employment, organised a training seminar on identification of labour traffickers’ methods and on recognition of victim profiles. A hundred and twenty labour inspectors attended the seminar.
    • Information seminars on human trafficking were organised for the National School of Public Administration under the European EQUAL initiative.

    Assistance and support provided to victims

    Assistance to victims of human trafficking is defined in Law 3064/2002 and the Presidential Decree 233/2003. It includes the right to safe residence in special houses, maintenance and humane living conditions, medical assistance, psychological support and provision of a lawyer and interpreter. Additionally, there are special provisions for minors, which include participation in education and training programmes.

    Sevices are provided by state authorities. However, medical support and shelter is also offered by many NGOs.

    During 2008, the government increased funding specifically directed towards assistance for trafficking victims. However, according to the US State Department Trafficking Report, delays in the processing of government funding for anti-trafficking non-governmental organisations hindered their effectiveness.  As a result, two trafficking shelters had to close down.

    It is possible for adult victims under the age of 23 to enrol in technical and professional schools in Greece through special programmes if they have the required qualifications. Foreign victims who reside illegally in Greece can postpone their deportation under a special order of the competent Prosecutor to the Court of First Instance, and with the approval of the Prosecutor to the Court of Appeal, until a verdict is issued in the trial of the perpetrator. In the case of minor victims, the consent of the Prosecutor of Minors is required for repatriation. This decision will be made on the basis of the report made by the Minors’ EPIMELITIS / Supervisor.

    In 2008, officials identified 76 victims of human trafficking. In 2009, 125 victims were identified. However, according to the US State Department, non-governmental and international organisations reported assisting at least 657 victims in 2008.

    Victims of trafficking are offered a 30 day reflection period, under which the victim may decide whether she or he will participate in criminal proceedings.

    The government provides trafficking victims who assist the government in prosecutions with temporary, renewable residence permits and access to social services and healthcare once government certified victim status has been achieved.

    The numbers of residence permits granted for victims of human trafficking who cooperated with the competent authorities were 23 for 2008 and 13 for 2009.

    During 2008, IOM Athens provided services to 60 victims, of whom 20 returned to their countries of origin. Forty victims have been helped by NGOs, police anti-trafficking units and embassies in terms of finding accommodation or providing information about reintegration schemes.

    Special protective measures for children

    The recently established Law No. 3625/2007, attempts to make criminal proceedings easier for child victims by providing an appointment with an attorney, assistance from a child psychologist or child psychiatrist during the interrogation, and the electronic entry of the minor victim's testimony.

    Children who are trafficked to Greece usually come from Albania, Bulgaria or Romania. The transnational project Transnational Action against Child Trafficking (TACT) has been implemented in Greece and Albania since 2002.

    The aim of TACT is to prevent transnational trafficking in children between these countries. A model of action based on five axes of intervention has been developed, which includes awareness raising activities in schools and vulnerable communities in Albania). The project also assists with the return and reintegration process for identified victims.

    The implementing partners are Terre des hommes Mission in Albania, ARSIS-Organisation for the Social Support of Youth, as well as other local partners. During its implementation TACT has also been supported by a number of international donors, among which are USAID, UNICEF, SIDA, OAK Foundation, Austrian Development Cooperation, and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

    A major donor has been also the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which allocated 600,000,00 € for the implementation of activities in the first and second year of TACT III (June 2006-January 2009).

    The Smile of the Child is a Greek registered NGO which enjoys Special Consultative Status at UN ECOSOC since 2008, and is also included in UNODC NGO database. It has been active in the field of child protection and children’s rights since 1996. “The Smile of the Child” implements various kinds of programs for the welfare and protection of thousands of children in danger throughout Greece, 24 hours per day, 7 days a week, 365 days in a year.

    The Smile of the Child applies “the 4 level” approach in combating trafficking in children:

    First level - Protection of Minor Victims through operation of 9 Community homes and 2 Daily Care Centers in Greece for children that are in danger, including those who are victims of trafficking

    Second level - National Centre of Immediate Social Intervention involving: Immediate on-site intervention, 1056 National Helpline, 116000 European Hotline for Missing Children, as well as National Child Alert Automated System AMBER ALERT HELLAS, in cooperation with 59 public and private institutions.

    Third level - Raising public awareness and prevention activities

    Fourth level - Development of Southeastern European Center for Missing and Exploited Children (SEEC)

    The Southeast European Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (SEEC)

    Mission of the Southeastern European Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (SEEC) is to generate co-operative actions, improving, sharing and expanding best practices between all relevant stakeholders from Southeastern Europe in order to efficiently combat the growing problem of missing and exploited children.

    SEEC’s key objectives in addressing the specific needs of the Southeastern European region are:

    • Applying common and effective approaches to deal with the existing problems of missing and exploited children and child trafficking, and furthermore to introduce and apply mechanisms to improve cross-border cooperation and coordination.
    • Supporting the incorporation of the 116 000 - the European hotline number for missing children and the establishment of emergency public broadcasting systems (according to the model of AMBER Alert system) in all Southeastern European (SEE) countries, as well as encouraging cooperation between and among these systems.
    • Encouraging the establishment of National Centres for missing and exploited children in the region of SEE.
    • Playing a leading role and advocating the protection of children’s rights in the region of SEE.

    SEEC is building sustainable partnerships with respective national, regional and international actors, namely national and international NGOs, as well as international organizations such as OSCE, SELEC (South Eastern Law Enforcement Centre) etc.

    Investigation and prosecution

    A specialised anti-trafficking group has been operational within the Public Police Security Division of the Hellenic Police Headquarters since 2002. The group's responsibilities have included drawing up a Public Order and Security Policy.

    The Hellenic Police operates 19 counter-trafficking task forces throughout the country. The work consists of large scale national and cross-border operations that brings together police task forces, prosecutors, law enforcement officials and NGOs, all engaged in victim identification, referral, assistance, vigorous investigation and dismantling of criminal networks.

    The mandate of these Task Forces is to exchange intelligence and information with prosecutors, NGOs, shelters and other partners. The Task Forces collect and process complete data on arrests, prosecutions, convictions and incarcerations.

    In 2006, Operation ILAEIRA was implemented by the ex Ministry of Public Order (now Ministry of Citizen’s Protection) and the Greek Police Headquarters. The operation aimed to suppress and combat trafficking in women and children for sexual exploitation. The ILAEIRA plan is developed on the basis of two parameters:

    • The first parameter concerns the operational (police-judicial) action for the combating of organized networks with international character and for victim recovery
    • The second parameter concerns the provision of assistance and protection to victims, as a result of the action that will be developed under the first parameter

    Twenty one other European countries participate in ILAEIRA action. These include EU Member States and third countries as well as International Organizations (Europol, Interpol, Eurojust, Frontex, Seci etc).

    During 2008 and the first two months of 2009, international operations resulted in the dismantling of trafficking networks. 161 people were arrested, and assistance was provided to 13 female victims of trafficking.

    According to the 2010 US State Department Trafficking in Persons Report, the police conducted 66 human trafficking investigations in 2009, a 65 percent increase above the 40 investigations in 2008. Fourteen of the new investigations involved forced labour, compared with only two in 2008.

    The government reported 32 new convictions of trafficking offenders, 12 cases acquitted, and 42 ongoing prosecutions in 2009. The average sentence for trafficking offenders was approximately 11 years with fines.

    Orther latest initiatives/acivities, challenges related to anti-trafficking policy

    Looking ahead to the national ownership and implementation of the new EU Strategy & Directive, the main task of the NREM is to work hand in hand with competent ministries and civil-society stakeholders in:

    • Promoting inter-ministerial collaboration through the participation of state agencies in various national and international training projects. Most notably, the NREM along with six EU counterparts participates in an ISEC program to harmonize the criteria & guidelines for victim identification & referral and support (National Referral Systems).
    • Drafting a call for proposals for a two year training project to train one hundred law enforcement and other officials (mixed groups of police task forces, judiciary, coast guard, labor inspectors, and welfare service providers).
    • Drafting a call for proposals for a project to improve the collection and processing of reliable and disaggregated statistics (in accordance with the EUROSTAT standards).
    • Drafting a call for proposals for several awareness raising campaigns addressing the ‘demand side’ for THB and the sensitization of the general public.
    • Promoting cooperation of state agencies and NGOs in EU ISEC Projects. Four Greek NGOs are currently either leaders or partners in cross regional ISEC projects and all of them have included Greek state agencies as associate partners. 
    • Creating a Corporate Social Responsibility Platform of ‘zero tolerance’ towards modern slavery.
    • Facilitating a ‘bring-in’ process where more stakeholders participate in awareness raising campaigns. Most notably, the NREM is promoting cooperation with the cultural sector and supports human rights interventions in schools. This includes sport diplomacy and interactive artistic projects (e.g. competitions) in theatre, video, photography, documentary, music.

    Latest initiatives

    1. The NREM in cooperation with the Warnath Group, the State Department and IOM Athens, hosted a THB TRAINING FOR CRIMINAL JUSTICE PROFESSIONALS.  The two day training took place in the MFA between January 30 and 31st 2013. US and Greek experts trained 50 law enforcement officials in small group exercises and large group feedback discussions is modules such as: Greek and International Law Overview, Push/Pull Factors, Common Trafficking Scenarios, Victim Issues: How Trauma affects behavior, Interviewing Victims, the Victim Centered Approach, the keys to Successful Investigation and Prosecution and International Cooperation.
    1. In line with the EU strategy for an anti-THB Business Coalition and the EU Communication on CSR, the NREM agreed with key CSR stakeholders to set up an anti-slavery coalition and implement various awareness raising projects with businesses and consumers. This coalition will be coordinated by the President of the Greek CSR Network and will include major private companies, the American-Hellenic Champer of Commerce, Private Foundations, Trade Unions and Consumer associations at a local and regional level. The main action of this coalition will be: a) to organize trainings for thousands of employees and b) to launch awareness raising campaigns for the general consumer public.
    1. The VICTOR project headed by the Greek NGO ‘Smile of the Child’ is a two year transnational project supported by ISEC and brings together an ambitious coalition of state agencies and NGOs.  From the Greek perspective, the NREM welcomes the participation of two key Ministries (Public Order & Citizens Protection and the Ministry of Justice, Transparency & Human Rights) and anticipates a close cooperation with other key regional partners in the Project, namely the Bulgarian and Romanian NREM. The main target of the Project is to promote and develop coordination, cooperation and mutual understanding among law enforcement agencies, other national authorities and civil society in combating trafficking in children. More specifically, a) to improve situation in the field of identification of children victims/potential victims of trafficking by training of actors likely to come into contact with them, b) to step up prevention of children THB through awareness raising activities targeting vulnerable groups of children at risk.

    In statistical terms the impressive work of the aforementioned NGO can be summarized in the following figures:

    • In 2012 they supported 41.897children and their families compared to 23.202 children in 20122 (increase of 80,5%)
    • the National Helpline for Children - SOS 1056 received 266.768 calls (731 calls/day).
    • on-site intervention for 161 children in danger
    • received serious allegations of abuse for  837 children
    • the 116000 European Hotline for Missing Children received 6.991 calls
    • 127 cases of missing children handled
    • 325 children found safety and care in our  Community homes and Daily Child Care
    • supported 10.927 children and their families facing serious welfare problems
    • responded to  1.510 requests concerning serious health problems of children
    • supported 9.336 children in the Greek Hospitals
    • undertook 2.472 transfers of infants and children (patients) all over Greece
    • provided preventive medical examinations to 6.999 children in 109 areas all over Greece
    • offered counseling support to  2.663 children and adults
    • undertook 316 lectures to inform students, educators and parents all over Greece
    • offered Creative occupation to 6.413 children in the Children’s Play Area that we operate in AthensInternationalAirport “Eleftherios Venizelos”
    1. They EC supported program REVENI implemented in Greece by the NGO ARSIS, is another good example of promoting interagency cooperation with the participation of state authorities at a local and regional level. The aim of this Project was to promote a unified child protection response to trafficking and exploitation of Bulgarian and Romanian children in Europe. It shed light on the risks that EU unaccompanied minors face in Europe and build on existing initiatives that have so far addressed this issue. Its ambitious aim is to offer a comprehensive answer to the lack of alternatives for EU unaccompanied minors that are already victims of exploitation and or/trafficking - or at risk to be - through the design of a European instrument that would address their vulnerability and offer protection schemes that are not currently adequate. Specifically they promoted a Directive on the reinforcement of the collaboration between receiving countries and countries of origin in matters relating to transnational protection of EU Children.
      • ARSIS has also cooperated with the NREM to submit a new ISEC proposal with ICMPD to support the Development of Transnational Referral Mechanisms for Trafficked Persons in South-Eastern Europe and strengthen the identification, protection and assistance to victims, with a special emphasis on children. The ultimate goal of the project is to develop a model for an EU Transnational Referral Mechanism (TRM) specifically addressing the issue of safe return.
    1. The Thessalonica-based international NGO A21 is another leading example of interagency cooperation in a wide spectrum of anti-THB initiatives. More specifically they:
      • Conduct multiple street campaigns. The first campaign will be an 1109 outreach to taxi drivers. They are aiming to reach 1100 taxi drivers and make them aware that human trafficking exists, inform them about the resource line and to encourage them, that if they notice something suspicious or have any information, to call 1109.
      • In October A21 plans to have a “Key to Free” event in order to commemorate the European Human Trafficking Awareness Day on October 18th. They will also organize a concert with a famous Greek artist perform to help endorse the 1109 resource hotline. It is estimated that this event will reach around 20.000 people
      • Schools Program: In February 2013 the A21 permission from the Ministry of Education for access to all public high schools in central Macedonia region was renewed. The program focuses on educating students on what human trafficking is, how to protect themselves, and how they can be apart of the solution. Many school principals were not even aware of the issue of human trafficking in their own city.
      • Human Trafficking Resource Line – “1109”: launched the national anti-trafficking hotline in April 2012 that accomplishes the following: Members of the public call to find out more about the issue of human trafficking, Victims call for help and support, Clients call and report anonymously if they suspect someone is a victim of trafficking, Members of the public call to report suspected trafficking activity in their area. The line is open 24/7 and is able to handle live translation in 186 different languages. The A21 goal this year for the 1109 hotline is to continue pursuing various marketing campaigns as well as partnering with Government Agencies and NGO’s, spreading the word about the number. In the month of January, a film crew produced a TV add that can run as a PSA on national TV. The biggest goal for 2013 is to air this 1109 hotline spot on national television.  
    • PROTECTION AND SUPPORT: Detention Centers/First Entry Centers: Since July 2009 A21 has been reaching out to several regional Detention Centers in northern Greece to help identify potential victims of trafficking and to provide legal support, food, clothes, personal items, as well as free legal services for extended help on release. In 2013 A21 will partner with Hellenic Police and The International Organization for Migration at First Entry Centers in the area of the Greek and Turkish border. They have developed a card with information about the 1109 hotline on it in 14 different languages. They also planning to roll out an awareness video to be shown at the centers with warnings and information about Human Trafficking as well as giving out a backpack with 1109 details in 14 languages.
    • Crisis Shelter: the crisis shelter in Thessalonica provides a safe environment for females who have escaped trafficking along with medical care, psychological assessment, vocational activities, life guidance/counseling and legal assistance. They look to continue to develop aftercare program to provide a strong program for victims of sex trafficking in 2013. Partnering with Hellenic Police, E.K.K.A (the NationalCenter for Social Solidarity), Foreign Consulates and Embassies as well as NGO’s and other agencies to assist survivors of trafficking in Greece
    • Transition Program: The Transition Program is the second stage of restoration for residents who have completed the Crisis Shelter Program. The  2013 Program involves five aspects: 1) Accommodation and Financial Support, 2) Vocational Training for Job Opportunities, 3) Life Skills Program, 4) Healthy Social Integration and 5) Language Proficiency Courses/Certificates. Some or all of these may apply depending on each case.
    • Repatriation : Due to Greece largely being a transit and destination country, the majority of our cases continue to choose repatriation. Wherever possible we partner with International Organiation for Mirgration, Hellenic Police and Foreign Embassies to help victims back to their countries. However, The A21 Campaign also repatriate cases independently where finances and external support were not available.

     IOM Athens main activities involve capacity building, raising public awareness and assisting in the voluntary repatriation of VoT.  In 2012, IOM Athens assisted in the return of 24 identified victims of trafficking. It should be noted that this number does not reflect victims who did not wish to be “labelled” as victims of trafficking but their experience disclosed that they were physically or sexually exploited.

    IOM Athens, maintains strong and positive cooperation with the following stakeholders:

    • Greek National Coordination Mechanism to Monitor and Prevent Trafficking in Human Beings
    • Representatives from the involved ministries including the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Citizens’ Protection, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Health and Social Solidarity, Ministry of Education and the  Ministry of Interior
    • National Ombudsman
    • Municipal and local government representatives
    • Local and international NGOs active in counter-trafficking activities in Greece
    • Migrants and migrant communities;
    • Embassy representatives from origin, transit and destination countries;
    • Mass media: national and local television, radio and print 

    IOM Athens’ objectives are to maintain regular contacts and regularly organize and host meetings and conferences that bring all stakeholders together.  The purposes of the meetings are:

    • To share information and experiences such as: new trends in trafficking, new resources for VoTs, changes & amendments to legislation, different investigative techniques and ways to work together to overcome obstacles.
    • To increase trust and maintain open lines of communication between the stakeholders
    • To strengthen and expand the national and local multi-disciplinary, multi-agency networks
    • In January 2012, the project entitled “Development of common guidelines and procedures on identification of victims of trafficking” commenced.  The 24-month project partners representatives from France, Bulgaria, Spain, the Netherlands, Romania and Greece.  The purpose of the project is to share best practices from the partner countries, to establish guidelines for first-level identification of victims of trafficking and to train the trainers.  IOM Athens, along with the National Coordinating Mechanism to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Human Beings are the Greek partners of the project.
    • In April IOM Athens, the NREM, the Ministry of Education and the General Secretariat for Athletics and Nutrition, with the support of the US Embassy in Athens, organized a basketball tournament between US NBA players and Greek celebrities in order to raise awareness on human trafficking.  The game was attended by over 8,000 students who had the opportunity to learn about the phenomenon.
    • IOM Greece and IOM Georgia organized a two-day conference on September 19th and 20th in Athens. On the first day of the two-day study visit, civil society representatives active in providing services to victims of human trafficking met at IOM offices to discuss obstacles they encountered and to explore ways to improved cooperation between civil society and government authorities in Greece and Georgia.  On the second day, a meeting was held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with government representatives including: law enforcement, prosecutors, judges, labour inspectors, doctors and other front-line professionals from the Ministries of Justice, Public Order, Foreign Affairs, Health and National Coordinating Mechanism on Trafficking to compare practices on identifying and protecting victims, investigating human trafficking cases and gathering evidence in a victim-based approach. Representatives from both countries vowed to continue exploring ways to cooperate in human trafficking cases.
    • In December 2012, IOM Athens and IOM Moldova organized a study visit for government representatives and civil society from the two countries.  The three day visit enabled the two sides to share information and experiences and to find ways of increasing cross-border cooperation.

    7.The Greek I.O European Public Law Organization organized a regional seminar on combating THB in the framework of the project "Integrated Approach for Prevention of Labour Exploitation in Origin and Destination Countries"  (4 and 5 February 2013)s co-funded by the European Commission. EPLO worked together with the National Agency against TIP of Romania (leader), the Ministry of Justice and Law Enforcement of Hungary, the Ministry of Interior of FYROM, the National Commission for Combating THB of Bulgaria, and the Action for Equality, Support, Antiracism (KISA) of Cyprus. Stakeholders such as labor inspectors and police officers reported on the legal framework in Greece regarding the phenomenon, the profile of the perpetrators, child trafficking, the identification, referral and assistance of trafficked persons among other during this two-day seminar and one of the nine regional seminars envisaged in the project. In addition, representatives of NGOs in Greece attended the seminar and presented their actions towards combating trafficking in persons. The seminar served as a tool for networking and the exchange of best practices and experiences among national stakeholders.The project aims to help them improve the identification and referral of victims, to provide better assistance to these people and to more effectively prosecute and convict traffickers. It addition, it has as an objective to improve communication between the authorities concerned and make people in the countries of origin more aware of the risks of working abroad illegally.

    8. NGO-State cooperation is also promoted by another ISEC project submitted by the Greek Council for Refugees. The competent state agency for Asylum is a partner in the project titled ‘The Refugee–Trafficking nexus: bridging the gap to improve protection of Victims of Trafficking’. The project aims to bridge the gap between  THB protection and the asylum system that remain separate, ignoring the fact that trafficked persons may need the support of both systems in order to access consistent and long term protection. Similarly, asylum seekers and refugees may have been also trafficked. Specific objectivesof the project is, a) toincrease understanding among anti-trafficking and asylum authorities, as well as other relevant stakeholders, of the nexus between trafficking and refugeehood. B) to strengthen the cooperation among trafficking and asylum authorities, as well other relevant stakeholders, and their capacity to jointly and comprehensively address protection needs of VoT. C) to elaborate a common integrated working methodology to guarantee the proper protection status and protection measures to victims of trafficking, by bridging the gap and ensure complementarity between the THB and the asylum systems and protective frameworks, at national and EU level. Elaboration of common operational guidelines for the establishment of an integrated referral mechanism (IRM) at national level is foreseen in the project as well as development of a handbook on for an integrated legal protection system for asylum seekers and VoT at EU level, to feed into EU asylum and trafficking policies.

    9. The Greek NGO ‘The NO project’ is another remarkable example of extroverted anti-THB activism and attract the participation of many students in the field of fine arts, cinema, video, theatre, photography, dance and music. Their various awareness raising projects are mostly visible in the social media and include interactive trans-media projects with a substantial participation of Greek schools. 

    National Referral Mechanism

    The  National Coordination Mechanism will continue focusing on a four-pronged Action Plan with a view to further improve our record in Prosecution, Protection, Prevention and Partnership. We endorse a consistent human rights roadmap, leading to a less strict and more inclusive identification regime for the victim and to more positive results in counter-trafficking. The Government and Civil Society are cooperating closely in the implementation of a comprehensive National Action Plan (N.A.P.) to combat TIP based on counter-trafficking Laws and on a victim identification regime (a national referral mechanism) ensuring the proper application of victim protection measures.

  • 4. EU AND INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION

    Greece participates in many international and regional fora that promote regional cooperation with neighbouring countries.  Much focus lies on police cooperation with other EU Member States and third countries.

    In 2006, an agreement for the protection and support of child victims of trafficking was signed between Greece and Albania, which was ratified in 2008 by Law 3692/2008. The bilateral agreement between Albania and Greece was recently ratified by the Greek Parliament and provides a series of actions to be taken by the Greek authorities.

    Some main examples of international cooperation include:

    • Supporting regional cooperation and holding bilateral meetings between frontier police directorates with respective services in Bulgaria and Albania
    • Exchanging information via authorised communication channels such as the SECI centre, Greek Liaison Officers appointed in EU Member States and third countries, and Police Cooperation Agreements concluded by Greece
    • Cooperating with foreign diplomatic missions in providing assistance to victims who are nationals of their countries
    • Participating in international operations, such as operation LEDA (held in 2003, during the Greek E.U. Presidency) and operation MIRAGE (held by the SECI centre).

    Towards a sophisticated Data Base, a Website and a National Referral System

    In cooperation with the International Organization for Migration, co-competent Ministries, NGOs, the Foreign Ministry’s Special Secretariat for the Development of International Programmes and the Secretariat General of Equality, the NCM is participating in a number of tenders within the framework of “Administrative Reform”, “Digital Convergence”, “Competitiveness” and “Gender Equality” being funded by the National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF) for 2007-1013.

    Through EC funding, the NCM will thus implement the creation of a twofold, detailed and systematically updated database for victims and monitoring the progress of legal cases against traffickers. In addition through NSRF support and in cooperation with the new EC anti-THB web portal, the NCM will also supervise the launching of an informative national website. Through NSRF support, the NCM will also resume in a more vigorous and systematic way, large-scale education and train the trainers projects for all competent authorities and civil society stakeholders.

    Synergy with EC Projects and interventions

    Responding to such challenges, the NCM participates with EU Partners France, Belgium, Bulgaria, Italy, Romania, Spain, and the Netherlands in an ambitious European Commission programme aimed to enhance and harmonise the methods and procedures for the identification of victims of trafficking through the development of common guidelines for the identification of victims.
    More Specifically:

    1. “establishment of an international network of contact points in law enforcement and prosecutors’ offices and organisations providing services for victims, with the aim of exchanging good practices on identification of trafficking cases”; 
    2. “the establishment of guidelines for all practitioners that come into contact with trafficking victims, aimed at ensuring that the interests of the victims are taken into account”; 
    3. and the “development of training programmes for law enforcement, prosecutors and judges, aimed at raising the level of protection and support to victims”. 
       

    The project will focus on the identification and thus, protection of victims of trafficking, especially women and children. It will aim at gathering best practices among participating States as regard the operational indicators of trafficking in human being (adults, children and all forms of exploitation) and the methods and procedures of identification in place and used. The indicators, methods and procedures of identification, once agreed upon and endorsed by the participating States, will be compiled in a guideline which will help the actors in the field to implement them in a uniform manner.  
    Hence, developing a harmonised guideline on identification of trafficked persons will ensure a better protection of the victims. The target groups are the professionals in charge of the identification of victims of trafficking within the participating States: law enforcement officers, prosecutors, judges, organisations providing services to victims. The final beneficiaries of the project are the victims of human trafficking (men, women and children) in the European Union.

    Eventually, a better and harmonised identification of trafficked persons will improve the data collection.  All participating countries will identify and appoint one National Coordinator (national rapporteur on trafficking and/or personality that is able to gather and imply national stakeholders within relevant Ministries and institutions/ political level) for the project.

    Implementation of the Directive 2011/36/EU

    The competent Ministry of Justice, Transparency and Human Rights  took the decision to set up a Special Law Drafting Committee that is preparing all necessary modifications for the transposition of both Directive 2011/36 and Directive 2011/93. Members of this Committee have been appointed representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Public Order and Citizen Protection, the Ministry of Education, Religion, Culture and Sports , the Ministry of Labor, Social Security and Welfare and the General  Secretariat of Mass Media Communications and Information. The Committee is presided by an Appeal Prosecutor and a first-instance Prosecutor

  • 5. RESOURCES

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