30 August, 2003
The government on Friday said it fully backs the activities of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) active in combating illegal people trafficking.
''NGO financing started in 2002 and continues into 2003. For the protection of people trafficking victims and for repatriation efforts we have earmarked 1.1 million euros, which is expected to increase in 2004'', Deputy Foreign Minister Andreas Loverdos said.
Greece is a contributor to a number of multilateral assistance funds and action groups that are active in combating people trafficking under the umbrella of leading organizations, while a special desk officer has been appointed to monitor relative activities and the development of a three-member team that will coordinate strategy and oversee the work of NGOs.
Moreover, the government has backed various information campaigns launched by NGOs and other state agencies, and has promoted contacts with countries in the Balkans, the Ukraine, Russia, as well as the US.
The deputy minister said pertinent legislation on the issue was recently implemented in the case of two women from Moldava who were viewed as victims and not as criminals.
Moreover, Loverdos said a recent US State Department report that ranked Greece in ''tier 3'' category, reserved for countries deemed not to comply with minimum standards regarding illegal human trafficking, was unfair.
''It failed to make a correct assessment of Greece's actions in combating the problem'', he said.
''We intend to use, today and in the future, all ways and means possible for the eradication of this phenomenon, which is an insult to humanity'', he concluded.
Source: Athens News Agency