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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-02-02

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] Major human trafficking ring busted in nationwide sweep
  • [02] Greek stocks plunge 2.96% on Mon.

  • [01] Major human trafficking ring busted in nationwide sweep

    Authorities on Monday announced that a major human-trafficking ring exploiting foreign nationals, particularly women forced into the sex trade, was busted by Greek police in a nationwide operation that began last Thursday and ended on Sunday. The operation was part of the national plan 'Ilaeira' that was ordered by the chief of police.

    The ring apparently operated in Attica, Karditsa and Florina via an employment agency based in Athens.

    Six suspected members of the organisation have been placed under arrest - three Greeks and three foreigners - along with nine foreign nationals that were in the country illegally. During raids on strip clubs in Karditsa and Florina, police also arrested another three Greeks and six women working in the establishments.

    Another 16 women, nationals of Romania, Moldova, Russia, Nigeria, Lithuania and one Greek, were detained.

    A police announcement said the operation was the culmination of an investigation that had begun a year earlier, based on information that the ring was operating an employment agency in central Athens through which it organised all kinds of illegal activity for the past two years.

    In collaboration with other such agencies in Eastern European countries or ads in Greek newspapers, the agency found women from Poland, Ukraine, Russia, Georgia, Uzbekistan and other countries. It then exploited their dire financial straits and the fact that they were in Greece illegally, sending them to work as domestic servants, nurses, cleaners and baby sitters while it kept back a part of their salaries as payment.

    The women coming to Greece from abroad were picked up at Athens airport and installed in an Athens apartment with promises that they would be made legal residents in exchange for an exorbitant fee.

    They were then imprisoned in the apartment by members of the ring until they had payed off their so-called debts, sleeping 12 to a room and paying five euros a day in rent, one euro to use cold water, two euros for hot water and five euros to wash their clothes.

    Several of them were sent to work in bars and strip clubs in Karditsa and Florina, for which the ring received a one-off payment for their "sale" to the club owners, who then kept all the money that they earned. In order to force them into prostitution or other sexual acts with clients, they were beaten and threatened.

    Two Russian women that were victims of the trafficking ring have outlined the ring's activities in sworn statements to police. They have been granted police protection and support as victims of human trafficking and safely repatriated in accordance with their wishes.

    The suspects under arrest were led before public prosecutors in Athens, Karditsa and Florina to be charged.

    During the same operation, police arrested a further 15 people in a strip club in Ilisia, where foreign women were again carrying out indecent acts with the customers in areas specially constructed for this purpose.

    Their activities were also recorded by the owners of the clubs with surveillance cameras and the images stored in a computer in a locked first-floor office, which could only be entered by those having the combination of the security system.

    A number of arrests for vice-related offences, both of Greeks and foreign nationals, were also made by police during a raid on a strip joint in Neos Kosmos.

    Those arrested were led before an Athens first-instance court public prosecutor on Sunday.

    [02] Greek stocks plunge 2.96% on Mon.

    Greek stocks suffered heavy losses during the first trading session of the week at the Athens Stock Exchange on Monday. The composite index of the market plunged 2.96 pct to end at 1,726.81 points, with turnover shrinking to 79.8 million euros, of which 1.6 million euros were block trades.

    Most sectors moved lower with the exception of Chemicals which ended 0.37 pct higher. Constructions (6.18 pct), Banks (4.15 pct), Healthcare (3.91 pct), Commerce (3.27 pct) and Telecommunications (3.03 pct) suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day.

    The FTSE 20 index fell 3.63 pct, the FTSE 40 index ended 1.04 pct down and the FTSE 80 index eased 1.45 pct. Broadly, decliners led advancers by 147 to 50 with another 48 issues unchanged.


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