Greece Grants Temporary Residence Permits to Two Trafficked Women
Monday, June 21, 2004 2:25 PM

This month Greece granted temporary residence permits to two women who were trafficked in the country and forced to work as prostitutes. They are the first victims of trafficking who benefit from Law 3064/2002 on "Combating trafficking in human beings, crimes against sexual freedom, child pornography and more generally on economic exploitation of sexual life and assistance to the victims thereof.”

The law was adopted in 2002 and criminalizes trafficking in persons for sexual exploitation and forced labor. Under the provisions of Law 3064, victims are allowed to remain in Greece until the case against their traffickers is tried in court. In the meantime, they can secure residence and work permits and stay at shelters.

In its 2004 report, the U.S. Department of State noted that no convictions were reported under Law 3064, although the Greek government had arrested 284 alleged traffickers.

Local human rights groups hope that the new center-right government will issue more temporary residence permits to trafficking victims. The Greek Helsinki Monitor and 13 other local human rights groups signed a petition appealing to the Minister of Justice for legal aid to trafficking victims.

The granting of temporary residence permits is also in line with a European Union directive adopted in April. The directive states that victims of trafficking should be granted a short-term residency permit in order to encourage them to cooperate with the authorities.

Between 20,000 and 40,000 women and girls are trafficked into Greece every year. The majority of trafficking victims are from the former Eastern bloc countries.

Compiled from Athens News, The Balkan Human Rights Web Pages and U.S. Department of State 2004 Trafficking in Persons Report.