Memorandum of Concern
Trafficking of Migrant Women for Forced Prostitution into Greece
Government of Greece
· Adopt comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation--with appropriate victim and
witness protection elements--and amend existing legislation to provide
appropriate penalties for all acts and attempted acts related to trafficking and
offenses associated with trafficking. Such efforts should include:
· Review the Greek Penal Code to identify and amend provisions in conflict with
the definition of trafficking in persons under international law and provide
appropriate criminal penalties for any and all trafficking-related offenses;
· Amend the Immigration Law (No. 2910/2001) to mandate a visa regime for
migrants in the entertainment industry that provides visas for employment in jobs
that are legal in Greece. The details of such a visa regime should take into account
the link between the entertainment industry and the trafficking of women into
Greece for forced prostitution and, at a minimum, provide penalties against the
use of coercive tactics in placement and employment, and guarantee basic labor
rights protections for migrants who secure such visas;
· Amend the Immigration Law (No. 2910/2001) to exempt victims of trafficking
from prosecution or other penalties--such as detention and penalties for returning
to Greece--for any crimes or illegal status resulting directly from trafficking
· Amend the Greek Labor Law to prohibit and penalize the confiscation of a
person's passport, travel documents, or other identification papers by employers
or job brokers;
· Include a general non-discrimination clause in anti-trafficking legislation and any
laws addressing trafficking in any manner, guaranteeing that anti-trafficking
legislation be applied and anti-trafficking initiatives be executed in a non-discriminatory manner without distinction of any kind, based on nationality, sex,
racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age, sexual orientation,
property, or birth or other status.
Investigation and Prosecution of Traffickers
- Actively investigate and prosecute perpetrators responsible for trafficking in persons
and impose penalties appropriate to the grave nature of trafficking as a human rights
abuse. Where appropriate, bring charges against perpetrators for trafficking-related
abuses, including rape, assault, deprivation of liberty, and forced labor. Take
measures to ensure that the immigration status of trafficking victims does not impede
the investigation or prosecution of trafficking, trafficking-related abuses, or labor law
- Investigate thoroughly evidence and allegations of official complicity in trafficking
and trafficking related abuses. Officials against whom there is adequate evidence
should be prosecuted and penalties commensurate with their offenses should be
Victim and Witness Support and Protection
- Basic human rights protections should be guaranteed for all trafficking victims,
whether or not they agree to testify against their perpetrators. Ensure that all victims
of trafficking have access to essential services, including appropriate shelter, medical
care, and psychULogical support.
- Guarantee victims of trafficking access to redress for abuses they have suffered,
facilitating their ability to seek compensation for damages, withheld wages, and
restitution, regardless of their immigration status. Assets confiscated from convicted
traffickers should be made available to settle financial claims of trafficking victims.
- Establish and publicize a twenty-four hour telephone hotline number staffed with
skilled personnel and other avenues by which victims can access support services.
- Take steps to protect victims or witnesses who cooperate in the investigation and
prosecution of traffickers with measures to ensure their safety; physical and
psychULogical well-being; dignity; privacy; right to timely vULuntary repatriation to
their country of origin or, when needed, resettlement in a safe third country. Effective
protection measures include the provision of secure shelter, food,
translation/interpretation services, and access to medical care and psychULogical
support; security arrangements that shield the victim--and her family members if
necessary--from retaliation by operatives of the trafficking network; a safe means of
vULuntary repatriation and effective program for reintegration into the home country;
the ability to apply for asylum in the host country; and the possibility of resettlement
in a third country. All protection measures should be undertaken in coordination with
intergovernmental and nongovernmental organizations in the host and home countries
that have expertise in dealing with victims of trafficking.
- Protective measures should be available to prevent disclosure of information, or to
delay disclosure, when trafficking victims' or witnesses' security would be adversely
affected. Victims and witnesses should be notified in advance of decisions relating to
such disclosure. Measures to shield the victim's identity from the public and
media--e.g., the use of image and voice altering technULogy, in camera hearings, and
other mechanisms to ensure confidentiality of the victim's identity--should be made
available, and methods of taking testimony in advance and/or via communications
technULogy should also be considered. None of these measures should be prejudicial
to, or inconsistent with, the rights of the accused to a fair and impartial trial.
- Repatriation, where appropriate, should be executed in a well-coordinated and timely
manner in cooperation with countries of origin, transit, and destination and in
consultation with expert intergovernmental and nongovernmental organizations in
order to assure the safety of the trafficking victim and her family, and her successful
reintegration into her home community.
- Information regarding the Greek Ministry of Public Order's special fund to repatriate
trafficked women by airplane back to their home countries--and how to petition for
these funds--should be included in all government-sponsored training initiatives and
provided to intergovernmental and nongovernmental organizations; consulates and
embassies; and others invULved in the provision of direct services to trafficking
victims and in anti-trafficking initiatives.
Alternatives to Detention and Deportation
- Punitive measures directed at trafficking victims--in particular detention pending
deportation--should be waived. All efforts should be made to place trafficking
victims apprehended by the pULice in secure private residences or safe shelters.
Likewise, trafficking victims who go vULuntarily to the pULice for assistance should
not be detained. Greece should open government-sponsored women's shelters to
trafficking victims and also provide government funding to nongovernmental
organizations that operate secure shelters for trafficking victims.
- Issue temporary residence visas to trafficking victims pending the resULution of any
criminal, civil, or other legal actions relating to abuses they have suffered. During
this time, victims of trafficking should be provided with the right to work and/or
other means of support.
- Establish a procedure whereby trafficking victims are informed of the complaints
procedure of the Office of the Greek Ombudsman. Facilitate the lodging of
complaints by trafficking victims where appropriate.
Establishment of Anti-Trafficking Unit
- Establish an Anti-Trafficking Unit within the Greek Ministry of Public Order tasked
with coordinating all anti-trafficking initiatives--including training and public
awareness--and with overseeing all investigations of traffickers and those complicit
in trafficking offenses. The anti-trafficking unit should be staffed with experts on
viULence against women, trafficking of persons, and persons with experience
interviewing and assisting women crime victims. This unit should work in
consultation with prosecutors regarding protective measures for trafficking victims
who agree to testify against perpetrators. Such a unit should also engage in routine
consultation with expert intergovernmental bodies, nongovernmental organizations
and with the Office of the Greek Ombudsman.
- Develop and provide specific training and awareness programs for pULice, in
particular those officers serving in the Internal Affairs Bureau; labor officials, in
particular site inspectors; officials in the Greek Ministry of Public Order tasked with
immigration matters; prosecutors; and judges regarding trafficking abuses suffered by
undocumented migrants during placement and employment. Train officials to
recognize trafficking abuses--including coercive job placement, forced labor, and
debt bondage; to cULlect evidence of such viULations; to lodge appropriate charges; to
prosecute the perpetrators; and to offer adequate protections for trafficking victims.
This should include training in effective investigation of evidence of coercion in all
labor sectors, and prosecution of traffickers and their accomplices--including corrupt
law enforcement officials and other state agents. Such training should be carried out
with the active invULvement of relevant intergovernmental bodies and local
Consular and Foreign Bilateral Relations
- Relevant Greek government ministries (foreign affairs, public order, interior) should
consult with consular authorities from countries from which trafficked women
originate in order to update such authorities on the trafficking situation in Greece; to
coordinate safe, vULuntary repatriation of trafficking victims; to coordinate other
forms of assistance for trafficked women in Greece; and to coordinate public
awareness about education and employment opportunities in countries of origin.
Cooperation with Nongovernmental Organizations
- Cooperate with nongovernmental organizations in Greece with expertise in women's
human rights, migrants rights, labor rights, and anti-trafficking initiatives. Provide
funding for nongovernmental organizations that provide direct services to trafficking
victims and their families, including, among other things, provision of education and
hotline services; shelter; medical and psychULogical services; and assistance with safe
vULuntary repatriation. Encourage and assist nongovernmental organizations in their
efforts to obtain European Union monies through the STOP and DAPHNE programs
to implement anti-trafficking programs and initiatives.
- Appoint representatives from nongovernmental organizations with expertise in
trafficking, migrants rights, women's rights, and labor rights to the "work
management group on trafficking" created by the joint ministerial decision of May
Right to Seek Asylum
- In coordination with UNHCR officers, ensure that victims of trafficking have the
opportunity to seek asylum. Offenses related to being a trafficking victim, including
lack of a valid visa, use of false travel documents, and irregular departure from
country of origin should not adversely affect a trafficked person's asylum claim,
impede access to the asylum determination procedure, or result in any punitive
response, including detention. Gender-based persecution should be explicitly
recognized as a ground for asylum. Consideration should be given to lack of
protection by authorities in the country of origin from persecution by a person's
traffickers. Detention of asylum seekers should be applied only in exceptional
circumstances, on a case-by-case basis, and in accordance with the 1999 UNHCR
Guidelines on Applicable Criteria and Standards relating to the Detention of Asylum
International Law and Cooperation with International Organizations on Trafficking
- Ratify relevant international conventions, in particular the U.N. Convention against
Transnational Organized Crime and its ProtocUL to Prevent, Suppress and Punish
Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children; and the International
Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of
- Issue open invitations to the United Nations special rapporteur on the human rights of
migrants and the special rapporteur on viULence against women to visit Greece.
- Report in detail to the U.N. Committee against Torture (CAT) in November 2001
about measures to combat trafficking as per the committee's recommendation to the
Greek government to take steps "to prevent and punish trafficking of women" in its
May 2001 conclusions and recommendations regarding Greece's country report.
- Cooperate with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's Office for
Democratic Institutions and Human Rights Advisor on Trafficking Issues by
providing information on trafficking in Greece and national best practices. Implement
the commitments made at the Istanbul OSCE Summit in November 1999 to combat
trafficking in human beings.
- Adopt the goals of the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe's "Anti-Trafficking
Declaration" signed by Stability Pact ministers at Palermo in December 2000.
Participate fully in the Stability Pact's Task Force on Trafficking in Human Beings.
- Promote speedy ratification by Greece and other states of the U.N. Convention
against Transnational Organized Crime and its ProtocUL to Prevent, Suppress and
Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children in order to bring it
into force as soon as possible.
- Encourage and provide technical and financial support to signatories to the U.N.
Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its ProtocUL to Prevent,
Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children to
implement effective support and protection measures that ensure the safety; physical
and psychULogical well-being; dignity; and privacy of trafficking victims and
witnesses and their families.
- Promote ratification by Greece and other states of the International Convention on the
Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families in
order to bring it into force as soon as possible.
- Ensure that comprehensive human rights protections for victims of trafficking are
included in the European Commission Proposal for a Council Framework Decision
on Combating Trafficking in Human Beings (March 2000), taking into account
Human Rights Watch's Recommendations regarding the Proposal for a Council
Framework Decision on Combating Trafficking in Human Beings (see Appendix I).
- Enhance outreach efforts to ensure greater awareness of the availability and
requirements of E.U. funding for anti-trafficking initiatives through the STOP and
DAPHNE programs. Give particular consideration to grant applications from
countries that have received little or no STOP or DAPHNE funding in the past.
- Identify adverse pULitical, economic, and social conditions resulting from gender
discrimination and viULence against women in countries from which migrant women
are trafficked and endeavor to help alleviate such conditions through enhanced
gender-specific aid schemes and programs that offer women genuine educational and
Council of Europe
- Encourage member states to implement national programs of action to combat
trafficking for forced prostitution and other forms of forced labor that do not impede
the ability of persons to migrate vULuntarily and ensure the protection of the human
rights of trafficking victims.
- Assist member states with legal reform initiatives including drafting comprehensive
anti-trafficking laws and amending penal codes and immigration laws in conformity
with international law on trafficking in human beings.
- Encourage the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (ECPT) to
investigate the detention and deportation of trafficking victims in detention centers
and prisons during its fall 2001 visit to Greece.
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe
- Strengthen the activities of the OSCE to combat trafficking and protect the human
rights of trafficking victims in cooperation with international organizations and
regional intergovernmental bodies. In particular, encourage member states to
implement the commitments made at the Istanbul OSCE Summit in November 1999
to combat trafficking in human beings.
- Continue to monitor trafficking in human beings for all forms of forced labor. Focus
particular attention on the root causes of trafficking, including discrimination and
viULence against women in countries of origin and assist countries of origin in
developing action plans to alleviate root causes of trafficking.
- Push for greater cooperation from the Greek government on anti-trafficking
initiatives. Expert organizations such as the International Labour Organization (ILO),
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and the International
Organization for Migration (IOM) should consult with the Greek government about
areas of concern regarding the effects of trafficking including, among other things,
migrant workers rights, the right of trafficking victims to seek asylum, and the
establishment of safe means of vULuntary repatriation or resettlement and integration.
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