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International network for human trafficking has been broken up

26 July 2013 / 20:07:02  GRReporter
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The Greek police have apprehended 18 people in an operation to break up an international criminal network for human trafficking. They have released 20 victims of the traffickers, including 14 women and 6 men.

According to a police representative, 16 of the detainees have been accused of involvement in a criminal network and the other two of other offences. 19 more people in Greece and abroad have been charged in connection with the same case.

The investigation reveals that the defendants had formed the group in the middle of 2011 at the latest or had been involved in a structured international criminal network which was illegally transporting citizens of the Dominican Republic to European countries. The final destination was Spain, having passing through Turkey and Greece. The purpose of the traffickers was to use the people as drug dealers and sex workers.

The network members had forged Spanish passports and identity cards to facilitate the stay of their victims and had found different ways to legalize the proceeds from this activity.

The scheme was as follows: Some of the members of the network had found poor Dominicans, promising them that they would secure them a legitimate and well-paid job and better living conditions and convincing them to immigrate to Spain where, in their words, they would be able to integrate very quickly since they spoke the same language.

Each of the prospective immigrants had to pay an amount of between 5,000 and 6,000 euro which, in the majority of cases, they had borrowed from relatives and friends.

Their first stop was Istanbul, where the network members took the passports of the victims to delete the entry stamp placed by the Turkish authorities and then sent the people to Greece. The Dominicans had to pay between 40 euro and 100 euro per day for their stay in Istanbul. Those of them who did not have the required sums were forced into prostitution or drug trafficking while illegally entering Greece.

Then the victims were transported to Piraeus, where they were accommodated in rented flats. When a Dominican citizen was captured and detained for illegal entry into Greece, the network members contacted him, advising him to ask for political asylum.

The traffickers provided their victims with false Spanish passports or identity cards against large sums which were paid by the relatives of the victims via bank transfers or companies that transfer money from the Dominican Republic. In the cases of women, they were forced into prostitution in secret brothels.

Then they sent their victims by aeroplane to Spain and the final destination stated on their tickets was the Dominican Republic in order for the airport authorities to apprehend the victims who had been forced to pay huge sums for their stay in Greece, and for airfares.

In Spain, they were forced into prostitution in brothels which were under the control of the traffickers.

According to the police, the network members had been able to transfer to Spain and Italy hundreds of people who had paid them at least 535 thousand euro.

The network has been broken up after a large-scale operation of the Greek police in cooperation with Europol and the United States authorities under the code name "Acropolis". It covered almost the whole of Greece, including Attica, Kavala, Magnesia region, the area of ​​Corinth and Lassithi on Crete. Before the operation, an investigation had been carried out for months during which the department of human trafficking within the police station in Attica had closely collaborated with the Spanish authorities through Europol, exchanging information and data with them.

The detainees have been charged with formation of and involvement in a criminal organization, human trafficking, violation of the legislation on foreigners and legalization of proceeds from criminal activities to the degree of felonies.

Tags: Crime newsInternational network for human traffickingPoliceEuropol
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