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Bulgarians transferred Iraqi in duffel bags

26 November 2008 / 10:11:41  GRReporter
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“Peloponnesus” newspaper ran a horrifying article on its first page about a channel for people trafficking from Iraq to Italy, in which the main role is played by two Bulgarian families and some employees from the Greek coastal guard. Shocking images show how Iraqis are patiently waiting for the ferry from Patra to Italy, in the car trunks of two Bulgarian families packed in duffel bags.

Both Bulgarian families are arrested and the case is being investigated. Another three Greek coastal guard employees and two owners of transport companies are arrested as well. According to “Peloponnesus” newspaper the police is looking for another three employees of the coastal guard, who were also involved in the deal. Police spokesman announced that this is probably the biggest operation for uncovering people trafficking channels in Greece. It is expected for the arrested to become more than 20. Among them are also Albanians, Turks, and Romanians. The “role” of the Greek coastal guards was to “close their eyes” and not check the inside of the cars, which transferred Iraqis, Pakistani, and Afghans. The initial price for transferring a person was 1200 Euros but when security check became tighter the price went up 3 times.

Patra is a “center” for illegal immigration due to its geographical position, the many transport connections with foreign countries, and mostly its closeness to Italy. There are over 2000 illegal immigrants in the city, poor, hungry, and sick, who are waiting to transfer to a Western European country. In the presence of three Athenian prosecutors, yesterday the police made tens of searches in private houses in Patra, which have turned into “agencies” for “fixing” Asian and North African immigrants. The illegal immigrant traffic in Patra is a very profitable business; it has more than a 10 year history, it is well organized and has the “collaboration” of the local authorities.

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