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About 150 Bulgarians sentenced in Greek prisons

17 November 2009 / 13:11:52  GRReporter
5073 reads

Marina Nikolova

In Greece 80% of prisoners are foreigners and the number of Bulgarians locked up are 150.

Most of them are sentenced for drug trafficking but for the last couple of years – since 2007, the number of prisoners sentenced for people trafficking, has increased dramatically, share trusted sources. This is the reason Greece passed the summary conviction law, according to which people are sentenced to 36 months in prison, €150 000 fine and seizure of the vehicle, in which people were transported.

Since Bulgaria entered the EU, Greek border police often catches Bulgarians trying to transfer emigrants in their cars – Iraqis, Pakistani, Iranians and Albanians. The truth is that for the past few years the number of emigrants in Greece from the Middle East has increased dramatically. With all means they try to come to Greece through Turkey and from the beginning they enter the human trafficking networks.

The number of Iraqis, Iranians and Pakistani, who try to pass the Turkish-Bulgarian border and go to Plovdiv, is big. From there traffickers load them on cars and take them through the Bulgarian-Greek border “Kapitan Petko Voivoda”. After that the Bulgarians drive them to Igoumenitza and Patra, which both are cities with big ports – gates to Western European countries. Based on latest data, emigrant waves, which before were going to Germany, Holland and Belgium, are not going to Sweden and Norway.

For years Greece has been the “unloading” station for trafficking networks, which transport Bulgarians with the purpose of labor and sex exploitation. Bulgarian traffickers bring their fellow countrymen to Greece and lie to them that they will find them jobs. Due to poverty or pure ignorance Bulgarians leave themselves to be lied to and hoping to improve their financial state, they become victims of the traffickers.

Example of the modern slavery can be given with few families, which this spring were brought to Greece with the promise that they will get a job. In the hotel they were staying, the traffickers offered the men a drink and the women to go shopping. When the women are alone they were kidnapped and forced to prostitute. One of them managed to run away from the brothel and another one was found in AHEPA hospital in Thessaloniki, where she was admitted because she had a diabetic crisis. Again in Thessaloniki, two Bulgarians – ages 19 and 20, were arrested because they were forcing a 60 year old man to beg and at night they were locking him inside a car, so he cannot run away.

Cases of where people are arrested for children trafficking are also frequent. Only this year there were few cases, where the Greek police caught few gangs.

The Greek Ministry of Justice has undertaken some measures for cooperating with the respective ministry in Bulgaria. For now the sentenced Bulgarians in Greece, can file an application to be transferred to a prison in Bulgaria only after they have served a certain period of time in Greece.

Except for cases of human trafficking, Bulgarians also cross legal boundaries in regards to traffic laws. Cases of fast driver arrests are many, mainly in Northern Greece. Typical example is people being pulled over driving with 100km/h on roads where the speed limit is 60km/h. Not too long ago a Bulgarian was pulled over driving with 220km/h on a road with speed limit of 60km/h. except for a ticket, policemen have the right to confiscate the car in cases where drivers drive with 40km/h above the speed limit. 

Tags: People trafficking sex exploitation Bulgarians in Greece Greek prisons
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