Seven non-government organizations have orchestrated with human traffickers to smuggle illegal immigrants into Greece, according to Migration Minister Notis Mitarachis.
The Greek minister told The Times that NGO’s from Somalia, Britain, Turkey and elsewhere assisted in the smuggling of illegal immigrants to Greece.
Mitarachi highlighted that the Norwegian non-governmental organization Aegean Boat Report, and the London-based Al-Khair Foundation assisted human traffickers.
Five other European NGO’s are also complicit in being human traffickers the crime and helping illegal immigrants enter the country.
“Contacts in Mogadishu facilitate transport to Istanbul, even paying for migrant airfare on Turkish Airlines,” the minister said. “From there, migrants are transported to key points along the Turkish coast, working with aid groups to push them to islands like Lesvos”, he said.
“Contacts push them to Athens . . . then to Berlin, then to Calais, where they are stashed
in a truck, ending up in London”, he explained.
According to testimonies given by illegal immigrants to the Greek authorities, the
Al-Khair Foundation paid for a journey in which 34 Somalis drowned while sailing from Turkey to Greece.
One of the 15 Somali men rescued on December 2 said: “Al-Khair helped me to reach Turkey with just €100.”
The illegal immigrant said the journey normally cost ten times what he had paid, suggesting that Al-Khair funded the rest.
Mitarachi said that Greece would start to limit what NGO’s could do in the migrant camps and Athens would hire private contractors to hinder the work of human traffickers.
“If a company wants to provide cleaning services, for example, they should be allowed to tender, not sidelined because there is some Save the World NGO that wants a million
euros to clean the camps,” he said.
“In Somalia, we understand that the Turkish authorities, the ministry of education and other ministries, are promoting immigration to Turkey,” Migration Minister Notis Mitarachi told a news conference.
Citing alleged testimony from Somali migrants, Mitarachi said applicants were being “facilitated” by a Turkish liaison office in Mogadishu to obtain visas based on certificates and documents provided by Turkish-funded institutions in Somalia.
“We understand that as many as 300 people have flown to Turkey in this way,” Mitarachi said.
“These people are essentially arriving legally in Turkey, for the express purpose of illegal trafficking into Europe.When Somalis arrive in Istanbul, they are transferred in cars, to specific areas of the city where they stay until their relocation to the western side of Turkey.”
“It is evident that these people are not at risk in Turkey and therefore should be given asylum there, if appropriate. It is worrying that Turkey appears to be facilitating the arrival of these migrants by willingly providing visas for travel,” Mitarachi added.
He added that Somali asylum seekers were also allegedly using “subsidised tickets and visas paid for by NGOs.”
There was no immediate comment from Ankara to the allegations about their assistance to NGO’s and human traffickers.