Refugee Frustrations in Greece Lead to Increase in Smuggling

Kos, Greece - September 28, 2015: Unidentified refugee on a beach. Kos island is located just 4 kilometers from the Turkish coast and refugees come from Turkey in an boat.

(Greece) – Smugglers in Greece have said that they expect to have a busy summer, since border closures and Northern Greece and the agreement between Turkey, Greece, and the European Union have both made it difficult for refugees and migrants to both enter and leave Greece. Since those two actions, the number of refugees and migrants who have come to Greece have declined considerably. Meanwhile, makeshift and state run refugee camps are reaching capacity and morale amongst the people in those camps is at a low while people experience long wait times for their asylum applications.

Police say that the smugglers are using fairly sophisticated methods to transport people who have been stuck in Greece to other parts of Europe. They use tactics such as motorcycle spotters to help map out blind spots and even have a series of police informants who give them aid. While the methods are more sophisticated, police have done a pretty good job of adapting, and the smugglers haven’t had a high rate of success lately. However, that hasn’t stopped them from making the attempt.

Currently, there are around 57,000 migrants or more who are stuck in camps throughout Greece. Most of these people have been in a holding pattern in Greece and desire to make the journey into Europe, preferably Central Europe, where there is the potential to find jobs and to also send their kids to school. However, they are on Greece’s timeline as the country struggles to process the asylum applications fast enough.

People who hire smugglers hope that they will aid them in their quest to make it to Central Europe. However, People trafficking is illegal and people who are found guilty of doing it could experience prison time. Meanwhile, Greece is working to improve the conditions for refugees who are stuck in the camps. For instance, they are looking to hire teachers so that the refugee could send their kids to school while they wait.

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