Refugees in Greek camps targeted by mafia gangs

Fresh evidence is rising that refugees stranded in camps across Greece are falling sufferer to rising ranges of vice peddled with the aid of mafia gangs who see the entrapped migrants as ideal prey for prostitution, drug trafficking and human smuggling. Details of the alarming conditions found in a few of the facilities’ comes because the Greek authorities – facing complaint after the Observer’s exposé of sexual abuse in camps last week – introduced pressing measures to cope with the disaster. A further four refugee centres, it stated, might be installation in a bid to improve extreme overcrowding, a prime supply of tensions inside the camps.

Resource workers say an envisioned 58,000 migrants and asylum seekers in Greece are an increasing number of being centered through Greek and Albanian mafias. Memories of criminals infiltrating camps to recruit inclined women and men are legion.

“If nothing is finished to improve the lifestyle of these refugees and to use their time more productively, I see a primary disaster,” warned Nesrin Abaza, an American Resource employee volunteering at the primary privately funded camp known as Elpida (Greek for desire) outside Thessaloniki. “These camps are a fertile breeding floor for terrorism, gangs and violence. It looks as if the world has forgotten about them. They’re now not headline information anymore, so consequently they do now not exist … however the overlook will display its ugly head.”


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With an expected 55 centres nationwide – which include “hotspots” on the Aegean islands inside view of Turkey – Greece has correctly emerged as a big protecting pen for refugees considering Eu and Balkan countries closed their borders to close them out earlier this yr.

In private, many Greek officers express alarm that numbers are developing amid stressful signs and symptoms that the 5-month-old deal signed between Ankara and the european to preserve the flows in take a look at is at the verge of collapse.

Although nowhere near the extent of final summer season – whilst at its peak 10,000 human beings streamed into Lesbos in a day – arrivals have risen visibly due to the fact that ultimate month’s failed coup in Turkey. Inside the 24-hour period among Thursday and Friday a few 261 migrants and refugees – nearly double the ordinary quantity – have been picked up on islands.

Unable to transport on, frustration has mounted some thousands now stuck in limbo. At the returned of uncertainty and anger over behind schedule asylum strategies, marooned migrants say they have got come to be sitting ducks for criminals as they flow in. “I never knew an element about capsules and now I’m doing drugs,” stated a 17-yr-antique Syrian children detained in a camp that stands in a defunct Softex toilet-roll manufacturing unit at the outskirts of Thessaloniki. “This camp is horrid. We stay like animals in tents in burning heat.”
Refugees and migrants wait to be registered at the refugee camp near the village of Moria, on the Greek island of Lesbos.
Pills, he ventured, had become the important motive for violence, with brawls erupting regularly. “The Greek and Albanian mafia come here and push the medicine,” he defined conceding that he financed his personal dependancy by illicitly sneaking into Macedonia, in which he sold cartons of cigarettes to sell within the camp. “The police are non-existent. They see capsules, stabbing, preventing and do nothing. They do no longer care. The world does not care.”

The testimony, which is subsidized up by human rights corporations which have deplored the appalling situations in Greek detention centres, comes after the eu launched €83m (£seventy one.8m) in April to improve residing situations for refugees stranded within the u. S. A . The UN refugee organization, the Global Federation of the Red Go and 6 International NGOs were given the bulk of the investment. Greece through then had already obtained €181m to help address the disaster from Brussels. Announcing the emergency aid, the european commissioner for humanitarian Aid and disaster control, Christos Stylianides, claimed the assistance became “a concrete example of ways the EU grants on the challenges Europe faces”.
We should restore dignified residing conditions for refugees and migrants in Europe as hastily as viable,” he said.

However four months later, as allegations of sexual abuse and criminal hobby envelop the camps, questions are mounting over whether the cash was well administered. Further, to awful sanitary situations and lack of police protection, the latest revelations have shone a light on whether the humanitarian machine is operating at all.

“There may be no emphasis on humanity, it’s miles all about numbers,” Amed Khan, a financier became philanthropist who funded Elpida, advised the Observer. Elpida, also hooked up in a former manufacturing unit close to Thessaloniki, has a tea room and yoga centre and, seeing itself as a pioneering initiative, encourages refugees to treat it as a domestic. Inside the month because the camp opened its doorways, it has gained plaudits for being the maximum humane refugee centre in Greece.

“Nobody is using money here correctly or efficaciously,” lamented Khan. “The humanitarian machine is the same one that has been in region given that the second international war, it lacks intellectual flexibility and is totally broken. The real query to be asked is, has the Useful resource that has been given been correctly utilised?”