Greek authorities have busted a children exploitation ring where parents forced their children to beg on the sidewalks and busy parts of the city, while they themselves reaped the money of their children's labor exploitation and treated themselves to restaurants and visits to casinos in neighbouring countries.
Photo: Supplied by Greek police
The investigation by Thessaloniki police came following a prosecutor's order, and led to the arrest of two couples from Bulgaria as well as another accomplice who was their compatriot. The arrested suspects appeared before a court official in Thessaloniki, charged with human trafficking and exposing minors to danger. The case file against the suspects by the Human Trafficking Unit includes two more accomplices.
The minors, aged from 4 months to 11 years, have been begging daily and for hours in areas of Thessaloniki for at least the last four months, not eating properly, sleeping on sidewalks and not going to school. They would hand over the money to their parents who spent it "living a life that is not in line with their activity as beggars", according to a police statement.
During the operation, twelve mobile phones were confiscated, credit cards and a sum of money. The juvenile victims were taken and accommodated under the auspices of the Thessaloniki Juvenile Prosecutor's Office.