Two hotel owners allegedly involved in a human trafficking ring that brought migrants from Turkey to Greece were arrested on Friday by police on Rhodes with the assistance of the Protection of the Sea Borders Security Directorate, the police of the Dodecanese, and EUROPOL.
Arrest warrants for another three foreign nationals allegedly involved in the human trafficking ring are also due to be issued later in the day, including of a man believed to be the leader of the criminal gang.
According to the Coast Guard, each member of the gang had a distinct role while the leader was responsible for the coordination and communication with traffickers in Turkey, including information pertaining to the time and area of Rhodes where boats with undocumented migrants were to arrive.
The second and the third foreign nationals received the migrants and escorted them to hotels operating as safe houses, supplying them with fake travel documents so they could board a ferry to Piraeus.
The estimated fee earned by the gang for the illegal transfer of migrants from Turkey to Rhodes ranged between 3,500 to 6,000 euros per person, depending on the choice of a trafficker in Turkey and the kind of vessel they were transported in while they requested an additional five hundred euros per person for fake travel documents.
Coast Guard officers cracked the case when on August 31, 2022 and September 1, 2022, they arrested fifteen foreign nationals at the port of Rhodes. They had attempted to board a ferry showing fake travel documents.
Greece records a sharp increase in human trafficking arrests
In the aftermath of the dramatic rescue of a group of thirty-eight migrants by the Greek authorities in the Evros region, new data published by the Hellenic Police have indicated a sharp increase in human trafficking arrests in the period between May to July 2022 in the area.
In releasing its seven-month statistics, the police said particularly high numbers were noted at the Evros land borders with Turkey, where most human traffickers were arrested.
Of a total of 386 traffickers arrested at land or sea borders from January to July 2022, 312 were apprehended in the Evros region.
Of these, 219 were arrested in the last three months (May 2022 to July 2022), an increase of 58.7 percent over the same three months in 2021 (when 138 were arrested).
Earlier in the week, Greek Migration Minister Notis Mitarakis announced that Greece has prevented more than 154,000 irregular migrants from entering the country this year.
Some fifty thousand people attempted to cross the Turkish-Greek border in August alone, he said.