10 Facts about prostitution and human trafficking for sexual exploitation in Greece.
1. Greece is a transit and destination country.
This means because of Greece European union membership and its shared border with Turkey, Greece have a massive flow of illegal immigrants passing through to get to other European countries and because of its relaxed prostitution laws many women and children are trafficked in order to work in the many brothels, studios, massage parlours, strip clubs, hotel and streets of Greece. The actual number of those who are being trafficked is nearly impossible to calculate. One reason is the covert nature of the dealings; it is illegal, so gaining hard evidence is not an easy feat.
2. Prostitution is Greece is legal
However in order to receive this status women must be over the age of 18; unmarried; have a right to live and work in Greece; be free from STI’s; not suffer from mental illness; not have a drug addiction; and not have been convicted of homicide, pimping, child porn, trafficking, robbery or blackmail. They must register at the local office and carry a medical card that is updated every two weeks. These rules mean fewer than 1,000 women are legally employed as prostitutes.
3. In order for a brothel to become legal
The brothel must be at least 200m from a public building, including schools; libraries; churches; playground etc. Therefore, only a handful of brothels in Greece are legal.
4. Greece is located on “tier 2” of the US State departments office to monitor and combat trafficking in persons.
This means the Greek government does not fully comply with the minimum standard for the elimination of trafficking. This is due to the financial crisis and poor fund allocation to departments working for victims of trafficking and the attitude prostitution is a ‘social service’ with many Greek and foreign men regularly visiting prostitutes. -
5. The majority of women and children victims in Athens originate from eastern Europe and the former soviet countries. The biggest reason for this is poverty with many people unable to support themselves and their family. With little employment and educational options traffickers pray on vulnerable people groups and the poorest communities.
6. Subject to Horrific travel conditions
Women and children arriving in Athens from war torn countries such as Syria, Afghanistan, are often subject to horrific travel conditions often raped and sexual exploited on the journey being unable to report this to any official sources due to the stigma from family members or the community.
7. Subject to voodoo rituals
Women coming from West Africa are often referred to traffickers by family members, members of the community or church undertaking a voodoo ritual called the Juju before embarking on the journey to Greece. The Juju ritual binds the women to her debt ensuring she will pay it back.
8. Traffickers use a variety of techniques
Traffickers use a variety of techniques to force a woman into prostitution from physical abuse; emotional abuse; sexual abuse; and coercion.
9. Greece is a well-known destination for sex tourism bringing in millions of euros each year.
10. Women freed from a trafficking situation often find it difficult to go back to their home country
Women freed from a trafficking situation often find it difficult to go back to their home countryas they are no longer accepted in the community due to the stigma that comes with working in prostitution. Equally they find it difficult to start a new life in Greece due to the lack of social welfare, emotional support and social stigma. Many women return to prostitution or becoming traffickers themselves.
U.S. Department of State annual TIP report: https://www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/index.htm
European commission - https://ec.europa.eu/anti-trafficking/member-states-0/Greece_en
Summary of prostitution regulations in the EU member states http://www.europarl.europa.eu/hearings/20040119/femm/document1_en.pdf