06 December, 2005
Estimates of human trafficking victims in Greece range from 16,000 to 20,000, participants at a one-day seminar in Thessaloniki focusing on the problem announced on Monday.
According to Thessaloniki area police director Stergios Apostolidis, women that fall prey to human trafficking/prostitution rings are very often psychologically scarred for the rest of their lives. Additionally, he said an anti-trafficking police unit has recorded 151 arrests since being formed in 2003, whereas 45 women -- aged between 17 to 33 -- have been hosted at various hotels and shelters in the Thessaloniki area.
Participants from neighboring countries -- Albania, Romania, Serbia-Montenegro and Turkey -- underlined that an exact number of victims is difficult to pinpoint
One account, by a representative from Moldova, was particularly upsetting, as he said six instances of suspected organ removals were recorded in the first nine months of 2006 in his country, especially liver and kidney removals. Moldovan Pavel Concear said paid donors were paid anywhere from 5,000 to 10,000 euros.
The seminar, entitled "Immigrants, Rights, Legal Framework, Illegal Human Trafficking and Child Pornography", was organized by the national section of the International Union of Police, under the foreign ministry's auspices.
Source: Athens News Agency