Fresh evidence is emerging that refugees stranded in camps across Greece are falling victim to rising levels of vice peddled by mafia gangs who see the entrapped migrants as perfect prey for prostitution, drug trafficking and human smuggling
Details of the alarming conditions present in many of the facilities comes as the Greek government – facing criticism after the Observer’s exposé of sexual abuse in camps last week – announced urgent measures to deal with the crisis. A further four refugee centres, it said, would be set up in a bid to improve severe overcrowding, a major source of tensions in the camps.
Aid workers say an estimated 58,000 migrants and asylum seekers in Greece are increasingly being targeted by Greek and Albanian mafias. Tales of criminals infiltrating camps to recruit vulnerable women and men are legion.
“If nothing is done to improve the lifestyle of these refugees and to use their time more productively, I see a major disaster,” warned Nesrin Abaza, an American aid worker volunteering at the first privately funded camp known as Elpida (Greek for hope) outside Thessaloniki. “These camps are a fertile breeding ground for terrorism, gangs and violence. It seems like the world has forgotten about them. They are not headline news any more, so therefore they do not exist … but the neglect will show its ugly head.”
With an estimated 55 centres nationwide – including “hotspots” on the Aegean islands within view of Turkey – Greece has effectively become a huge holding pen for refugees since EU and Balkan countries closed their borders to shut them out earlier this year.
In private, many Greek officials express alarm that numbers are growing amid worrying signs that the five-month-old deal signed between Ankara and the EU to keep the flows in check is on the verge of collapse.
Sep 21, 2020he persecution, ethnic cleansing, and attempted genocide of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar’s Rakhine state is an affront to the rule of law, a well-documented atrocity and, according to a top international lawyer, a moral stain on “our collective conscience and humanity”. So why are the killings and other horrors continuing while known perpetrators go unpunished? It’s a […]
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