Greece arrested three Turkish citizens for migrant trafficking

coast guard migrants

Three Turkish citizens were arrested on the island of Leros on suspicion of trafficking 98 migrants on March 13.

According to information released by the Hellenic Coast Guard, two of the men were in command of the vessel while the third was responsible for engineering. They are accused of being part of an organised network of traffickers active in Turkey.

The three were arrested for illegal entry, trafficking, and participation in organised criminal activity. After a hearing with a prosecutor, they were remanded in custody.

The authorities are investigating the evidence to determine whether the suspects or other members of their alleged network are active in other Aegean islands.


Greece is a transit and destination country for victims, mainly trafficked for sexual exploitation, forced labour, and begging.

As Greece is one of the entry points for migration flows into Europe, presumed victims of trafficking may be identified amongst the undocumented migrants entering the country. Victims of trafficking in human beings arrive in Greece from other EU Member States (Eastern Europe countries) and/or third countries (e.g. post-Soviet Union countries, South-East Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa). However, Greek citizens have also been identified as victims of trafficking (domestic trafficking).

Given that Greece is one of the main entry points for migration and refugee flows into Europe, the reception and identification process is regarded as a crucial stage for the identification of victims of trafficking. This is because, for some newcomers, exploitation may not have happened yet, and the potential victim is not yet aware of the risk for exploitation. However, field NGOs mentioned that false promise of immigration has been used by traffickers to recruit victims, while in some instances smugglers functioned as traffickers, as they took advantage of further possibilities for profit in human trafficking.