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Greece starts actively working on the control on human trafficking

16 October 2010 / 16:10:33  GRReporter
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On the occasion of the European Day against human trafficking on 18th October, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs organized a conference on European policy and the national plan of Greece for control on human trafficking.

This year have increased the cases against traffickers by 65%, the sentences have increased by 52% as well as the number of victims which have been put under protection with prosecutor's orders by 60%, said the Minister of Foreign Affairs Dimitris Droutsas during the presentation of the "Plan for control on human trafficking. "We respond to the commitment to new EU legislation, which provides the necessary political platform on which to base ours in fighting against human trafficking" confirmed Minister Droutsas. He emphasized that the most important thing in fighting against trafficking is the prevention of the phenomenon so as to limit the so-called "demand" of the "services" offered by the people who have become victims of trafficking who are exploited. The plan of the ministry provides for the organization of  five meetings in the next 12 months whose aim is to connect all organizations that act against human trafficking. In addition there will be a campaign to inform the youth by playing on the music channels videos in order to engage the young people and get them to think about this problem. It will also be clarified the role of the private sector and of the companies which should protect their employees from exploitation and labor trafficking within the corporate social responsibility. Initiatives have also been provided, related to trafficking in unaccompanied minors who are being forced into prostitution, as well as for the abducted and missing children, for who was opened a Center for abused and abducted children for Southeast Europe in Athens.

Guidelines for action in the fight against human trafficking, as identified by Minister Droutsas are three: prevention, support of the victims and prevention of trafficking, which depend on the fourth parameter - cooperation between the organizations and the countries. Channels for cooperation will be opened between the states for better coordination of activities and for the development of action plans, "because for the networks of traffickers there are no borders and their commodity are the people, and their goal is profit," said Mr Droutsas and added that "in order to stop this phenomenon we should more effectively exchange information about the victims and the progress on cases against human traffickers".

In Greece there is a national coordination mechanism for control on trafficking through which informally the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was able to carry through a policy for the prevention in the countries from which are coming the most of the victims as well as on location - in Greece, through the prevention of trafficking of people. Mr. Droutsas named hunger, poverty, wars, natural disasters as part of the main reasons why the people from poor countries who are trying to migrate become victims of traffickers. "We are trying to limit mass migration and to strengthen the local communities," said the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Also Greece cooperates with the International Organization for Migration and within the fight against trafficking it has trained thousands of judges, prosecutors, policemen, port officials, labor inspectors, who are meeting with victims of trafficking during the performance of their work duties. The country is also working to strengthen the cross-border cooperation through bilateral agreements, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is constant contact with the embassies, funds activities for social and legal support of the victims and their social reintegration in Greece or in their home country, said Mr Droutsas .

"We hope that the action plan which we are presenting today along with the other competent ministries, our social partners and the International Organization for Migration, will have results. With the finances of the National Strategic Framework (ESPA) 2007-2013 we will create a website and an analytical and systematic updated database, both for the victims and for the progress on criminal cases against traffickers," said the minister, and added that along with France, Belgium, Sweden, Bulgaria and Romania, Greece participates in a program for the establishment of a common system for identification of the victims among the participating countries. Under this program all relevant staff will be trained in the correct practices by large organizations that are leaders in the fight against contemporary forms of slavery. We should not and we cannot be calm as long as contemporary forms of slavery exist and Greece has to become among the pioneers in the fight against human trafficking and exploitation, finished his presentation the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Greece.

Representative of the General Secretariat for gender equality Maria Stratigaki spoke about the women victims of trafficking. "Not only do the victims suffer, but also the entire society does because they create the perception that people commodities. Trafficking is a symptom of a integral crisis of the society, and while there is demand, there will also be supply – it is important for us to stop the demand," said Mrs. Stratigaki. She said that they are working in ways for the limitation of the phenomenon: 1. a draft law has been prepared related to the violence within the family, the workplace and in society. 2. development of an infrastructure financed by the National Strategic Framework 2007-2013 and  the objective is to build 14 centers in 13 regions of the country and to open a national helpline aiming to work with women victims of violence in any form. In these centers they will have access to psycho-social support and legal advice 3. cooperation with ministries, to support initiatives for control over trafficking.

In turn, the representative of the European Commission in Athens, Mr. Martin stressed that it is difficult to assess the scale of the phenomenon of "human trafficking", but yet there are data showing that 2 million and a half are the people worldwide who are victims of trafficking and are forced to work in conditions of modern slavery. The problem is also related to children, and according to UNICEF data 1.2 million of them are victims of trafficking. The reason for the human trade is their exploitation: 42% of the victims are sexually exploited and almost all of them are women, 32% - are forced to work 25% - are victims of both types of exploitation. "Other causes of trafficking are even more terrifying. It is believed that between 5% and 10% of transplanted kidneys came from trade of human beings," noted the representative of the European Commission in Athens. At the same time the cases which are fought do not correspond even a bit to the scale of the phenomenon - in 2007 there were 5,700 criminal cases and only 3400 convictions, which means that for every 800 victims of human trafficking only one trafficker has been sentenced.

For the countries in EU there also aren’t many details, but according to estimates there are about 120,000 women and children who are victims of trade with human beings only in the Balkan region each year, said Mr Martin. In Italy, it is reported that there are 40,000 victims of sexual exploitation and it is estimated that profits from these activities for the year 2009 have increased five times compared with 2005.

Mr. Yannis Androulakis, adviser in the Ministry of Justice, noted that the adjustment to the international legal system and the signing of the Palermo Protocol in August 2009, strengthens anthropocentric nature of the criminal law of Greece as well as the National Action Plan against trafficking. At the end of the conference Mr. Moskof from the National Coordinating Mechanism stressed that we should not calm down, that from a period of barbarism we have switched to a more correct way to deal with trafficking. Currently the consent of the victims has been bought while the human traders are giving them incentives, such as pocket money or a day off, limited freedom of movement or some kind of opportunity for liberation, but that "smiling face" of trafficking does not mean that there is less violence. According to data 71% of the girls have been abused, 89 percent want to escape and AIDS threshes one and all.

Tags: news human trafficking
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