(Greece) – A total of five people on two separate occasions were arrested in Greece in association with smuggling migrants and refugees illegally across the Former Republic of Macedonia’s border and into Greece. These five people are accused of smuggling a total of 53 people. People smuggling is currently illegal and there are consequences for those who participate in it.
There were two operations that led to the arrest of the people smugglers. In the first, a total of 18 migrants who were from Syria and Afghanistan were to be transported in two vehicles across the border into Macedonia. Each of the car’s drivers and two other people who were following the two cars were each to be paid 1000 euros.
People smuggling has lately increased in activity. Morale in the Greek camps amongst migrants and refugees has been low lately due to long wait times by the Greek government in processing asylum applications. Many people who were living at a makeshift camp in Idomeni, Greece on the Former Republic of Macedonia’s border were reluctant to enter the state camps in fear that they will be stuck in the camps for much longer than they’d like.
In a separate incident, a bus driver in Thessaloniki was paid 50 euros per person to transport 35 migrants, who were all from either Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan, to the border between Macedonia and Greece. The arrangements is that they would then make an attempt to walk across the border themselves and the bus dirver wasn’t to accompany them.
Migrants and refugees arrive in Europe through countries like Greece and Italy in hopes of working their way to Central Europe where the economies are much stronger. Most hope to find jobs and to give their children a chance to attend school. Many refugees have said that they would rather not end up at a state run camp and were open to finding other ways to end up in Central Europe.