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Greece Dismantles International Human Trafficking Ring

Human Trafficking Ring Greece
18 suspects were arrested and charged with human trafficking offenses. Credit: Hellenic Police

Police in Greece announced that it dismantled an international human trafficking ring that illegally transferred foreign nationals to Greece and facilitated their departure to other countries via Athens Airport.

Police said that the ring was supplying them with the necessary travel documents.

In a large-scale police operation on Tuesday, 20 December, in several parts of the regions of Attica and Thessaloniki, a total of 18 individuals were arrested as suspected members of the criminal organization.

Among them was the alleged leader of the ring, while 13 undocumented migrants were found and processes were launched for their deportation.

A foreign national with an outstanding warrant for a charge of rape was also arrested.

How the human trafficking ring operated in Greece

According to the police, the members of the ring collected migrants that illegally entered the country, mostly from forests in the Evros region, using rented cars or stolen or company vehicles and transferred them either directly to safe houses in Thessaloniki or to an area of forest.

Afterward, the traffickers used vehicles with foreign number plates to transfer them to safe houses in Athens, where they supplied them with the necessary travel documents, either fake or original, with which they sought, via Athens Airport, to travel to Europe.

In raids on houses and businesses, police found and confiscated 12 company vehicles, 136 travel documents, of which 110 were original, 48,020 euros cash, 69 mobile phones, a money-counting machine and 61 grams of crystal meth.

The arrested individuals will be sent before a public prosecutor.

In September 2022, two hotel owners were arrested in Rhodes for allegedly being involved in a human trafficking ring that brought migrants from Turkey to Greece.

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.

147 unaccompanied children were rescued in the last 15 days in Greece

In a separate development, the Migration and Asylum Ministry announced on Friday that a total of 147 unaccompanied children were rescued in the last 15 days.

The children were sent to facilities under the supervision of the Special Secretariat for the Protection of Unaccompanied Minors, the same announcement said.

Specifically, on November 22, the Coast Guard rescued people that were on a vessel south of Crete, among them 112 unaccompanied minors from Syria and Egypt, while on December 5 it rescued migrants from another vessel in the region of Messinia, among them 35 unaccompanied minors from Afghanistan.

Related: Campaign Against Human Trafficking Launched in Greece

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