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Illegal prostitution and itinerant trading is rampant around Athens

08 February 2010 / 17:02:54  GRReporter
7175 reads

Victoria Mindova

Prostitution, homelessness, illegal trade and drug addicts are just some of the problems that Greek citizens and guests of the capital are facing every day in downtown Athens. Over 250 brothels were opened during the last three years, only seven of which operate legally according to recent studies of the Municipality of Athens. Unfortunately five of the ten decisions issued for the closure of such establishments are overlooked because of ambiguity in the law and irregular brothels continue to operate. Operating permits are issued by the Ministry of Finance as "centers of physical health" (!?) and operate under the name Studio. Until now the control in these studios is a severe procedure done by a mixed group, which includes the municipal police forces and police of the respective residential area. The proposal of the Mayor of Athens is to make changes in the existing law and to empower the municipal police to inspect the establishments themselves and punish and bring to justice violators of the owners-brothels. Many abandoned buildings and hotels have been converted into illegal brothels, which municipal authorities have described and submitted to the police, but still no action has been taken for their closure. 

Meanwhile hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants maintain a chain of itinerant trade, whose turnover exceeds €10 billion annually. A major problem in the center of the city are the hundreds of illegal dealers who sell bags, clothing, toys and various other goods of unknown origin, on the streets of Athens over paved linen. "We must not sanction the immigrants," said Nikita Kaklamanis Mayor of Athens, “because this way foreigners earn €30-€50 per day and refrain from theft and other criminal acts." This statement of the Athens Mayor can be determined at least as controversial, particularly at a time when the PASOK government’s main objective is to maximize tax revenues in the Treasury and to prosecute and severely punish rogue traders and entrepreneurs. 

Last but not least is the proposal by the Mayor of Athens to relocate OKANA (Organization against Drugs) from Omonia Square in the center to the periphery of Athens. "These organizations should be in direct proximity to the clinical centers and areas around them must be correctly supervised by the police in order to ensure that dependent patients will receive effective treatment and the public in these areas will be relaxed," Kaklamanis said. The proposal to move the OKANA centers was made by the previous government of New Democracy, which had started the transfer procedures few months before the fourth parliamentary elections in October 2009. The procedure was terminated. Next week the municipality will reinstate the proposal in front of the new management of the Ministry of Health and Welfare in the hope that this government will complete the relocation of the addiction treatment centers. 

Tags: Prostitution Athens Greece Drugs addict Counterfeit goods
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